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Lab-on-a-chip for cancer detection

The European Research Institute IMEC (Belgium) and its research partners have launched a European research project to create a lab-on-a-chip for detecting malignant cells in the blood.

A chemical lab the size of a credit card. Photo: Polish Academy of Sciences
A chemical lab the size of a credit card. Photo: Polish Academy of Sciences

The Miracle project (Magnetic Isolation and MoleculaR Analysis of single Circulating and disseminated tumor cells on chip) should last for several years starting in September 2010 and receive a budget of approximately 12 million dollars.

The preparation of a microflow device capable of locating and isolating malignant cells moving and circulating in the blood is an important step forward for a faster and cheaper diagnosis of cancer. The aforementioned project is intended for the development of an integrated and fully automatic micro-system for obtaining the genetic structure of these types of cells based on clinical samples.

In a previous joint venture called Mascot, separate microflow units were developed for cell isolation, cell counting and DNA amplification and detection. Based on this previous experience and receiving reinforcement from other partners, the researchers hope within this joint venture to develop a completely independent lab-on-a-chip system for isolating, counting and obtaining the genetic structure of malignant cells moving in the blood.

In order to obtain the genetic structure, genetic material, such as mitochondrial DNA, is extracted from the cells and then various markers related to cancer are amplified using a special device (multiplex ligation-dependent probe) after being detected using an array of electrochemical sensors.

The home page of the project

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