Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories have developed a lab-on-a-disk platform that they believe will be faster, less expensive, and more versatile than similar medical diagnostic tools.
Lab officials are seeking industry partners to license and commercialize the SpinDx technology, which can determine a patient’s white-blood-cell count, analyze important protein markers, and process up to 64 assays from a single sample, all in a matter of minutes.
The technology advances in SpinDx have profound implications for patient care, Sandia asserts. Heart attacks, strokes, infections, certain cancers, and other afflictions could be detected days or weeks sooner than they are today, with no new burdens placed on patients or their doctors, said Anup Singh, manager of Sandia’s biotechnology and bioengineering department.
The SpinDx platform has several advantages:
1. Small sample size: Patients merely have to provide a pin-prick sample of blood.
2. Ease of use: The device uses a spinning disk, much like a CD player, to manipulate a sample. The disks contain commercially available reagents and antibodies specific to each protein marker.
3. Custom applications: Singh envisions a “plug and play” approach whereby the physician chooses among a “cardiac disk,” “immune disk,” and similar options.
4. Inexpensive technology: The disks — the crux of the technology — cost pennies to manufacture.
5. Quick response time: Results can be delivered to the physician’s computer in 15 minutes.
“We envision medical personnel using SpinDx routinely,” said Greg Sommer, the Sandia researcher who spearheaded development of the project. “Instead of standard blood panels and costly lab tests, a SpinDx disk would be processed right in the office while the medical office staff is gathering routine data.
The platform also has homeland security and food processing applications.