The timely and accurate diagnosis of disease is necessary for treatments that maximize the patients’ survival and quality of life. For this, an ever-growing number of disease-related biomarkers is monitored, usually with expensive instruments. These tests may not be accessible at routine doctor’s appointments or even in emergency situations, as samples need to be sent for testing to large centralized laboratories, adding cost and delays of several days or more and the need for repeated visits.
In many cases a better alternative with indisputable advantages is provided by point-of-care testing, which enables analysis at the point of interest (at the doctor’s office, in the ambulance, at the hospital reception, or even at home and on a trip). These tests are very fast and the result is obtained within few minutes, enabling fast clinical decision making and effective treatment. The current SARS-COV-2 pandemic has shown us the practical use of lateral flow assay tests in diagnostic of Covid-19 infection and that these types of test can by easily handled by a layman.
We are developing the concept of “lab-on-a-chip” devices to take the tests out of centralized laboratories and bring them to the point of care: deliver the results where and when they are needed for appropriate action to be possible. These devices can be used for early point-of-care detection of markers of various diseases with minimally invasive sample collection (saliva, urine, capillary blood). These chips will not only enable early detection of an ongoing disease for its timely treatment, but also provide a quick screening of risk factors and predispositions to enable interventions that prevent the disease from developing in the first place. At the same time, these chips enable the detection of multiple markers at once and significantly expand the diagnostic potential. Further examples of application of these devices include not only detecting viral and bacterial infections, but also identifying the pathogen and its sensitivity to specific forms of treatment such as antibiotic sensitivity.
The concept is developed by GeneSpector Innovations, an R&D spin-off company of Charles University focused on further development and clinical application of promising academic technologies in the field of laboratory diagnostics and therapy.
January 18, 2023; written by Tomáš Riedel and Andres de los Santos