Visits to the doctor or stays in hospital are famous for long waits. More often than not, you’re told, "Please have some pa-tience! We have to wait for the results from the laboratory." The waits are not only irritating, but comes at considerable expense, and at worst also negatively impact on the patient's health. A new development from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM could bring an end to all this. The new BioChip is used in a diagnosis system for human antibodies, where it can carry out up to 100 immune tests simultaneously. The system will comprise an assay processor and a fluorescence reader. The BioChip cartridge, designed for the serologically relevant antigen dots as microfluid system with integrated chip field, is the size of a check card and can be manufactured as a disposable. The fluorescence levels of the immune reactions are evaluated spectrometrically, by sequentially exciting the individ-ual dots with an LED array. The benefits are obvious: each doctor’s practice can be equipped with such a system and thereby avoid expensive laboratory infra-structure. Additionally, the serological results are available in a maximum of two hours, not only sparing patients exhausting trips, but also leading to faster diagnostic findings and therefore targeted treatment. In initial studies of serums of patients with reactive or postinfec-tious arthritis, a prototype of the BioChip system made reliably identifying the responsible pathogen possible, using 39 reactive antigen dots from ten different agents. Mikrogen GmbH, Kunststofftechnik Scherer & Trier, Steer Mechatronik as well as the Institute for Medical Microbiology and Hygiene of the Uni-versity of Regensburg are continuing to participate in realizing the overall system.
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