New technology developed by the University of Bristol has the potential to accelerate uptake and development of on-chip diagnostic techniques in parts of the world where rapid diagnoses are desperately needed to improve public health, mortality, and morbidity.

Published by News Medical Life Sciences, microfluidic devices underpin lab-on-a-chip (LOC) technologies which are developed to provide the rapid diagnoses that are needed at the point of care (POC) for the swift and effective treatment of many diseases.

Researchers at Bristol have developed a fast, reliable and cost-effective alternative for producing the soft-lithographic molds used for fabricating microfluidic devices. (published in the journal PLOS ONE).

This discovery means fabrication of microfluidic devices (with channel dimensions) is now both accessible and affordable using simple, low-cost 3D-printing techniques and the open-source resources developed by the team.

This technique is so simple, quick & cheap that devices can be fabricated using only everyday domestic or educational appliances and at a negligible cost.  

Meaning researchers and clinicians could use the technology and resources to help fabricate rapid medical diagnostic tools, quickly and cheaply, with minimal additional expertise or resources required.

The simplicity and minimal cost of this technique, as well as the playful click-and-connect approach developed, also makes it suitable for hobbyists and educational use, to teach about microfluidics and the applications of lab-on-a-chip technology.

Source:
University of Bristol journal reference:
Felton, H., et al. (2021) Negligible-cost microfluidic device fabrication using 3D-printed interconnecting channel scaffolds. PLOS ONEdoi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0245206.

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