Many researchers are developing lab-on-a-chip devices that can be used to identify viruses, chemicals, or chromosomal aberrations using just a drop of blood, writes Alok Jha at The Guardian. "The platform blurs nanotechnology, biotechnology, and micro-electronics. And it is not specific to medicine," he says. The advantage of this approach is that not only can it be done outside of a lab, but it also requires small samples. "Potentially you can detect the presence of, for example, cancer or diabetes at a much earlier stage and then treat it more effectively," Mark Morrison, CEO of the Institute of Nanotechnology in the UK, tells Jha. "If you treat the disease earlier on, you have a much greater chance of success."
Nov 29, 2011