||A new electronic "reader" could provide disease diagnosis from a small amount of a patient's saliva or blood.
Credit: American Chemical Society
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are reporting development of a device that could serve as the
electronic “reader” for a coming generation of “wellness cards,”
specimen holders used to diagnose disease from a drop of a patient’s
saliva or blood. The research, done by scientists in Utah, Iowa,
Arizona, and Minnesota, is presented in two papers scheduled for the
November 1 issue of ACS’ Analytical Chemistry, a semi-monthly journal.
In those studies, Marc Porter and colleagues describe using the same
technology at the heart of miniaturized hard disk drives to create the
new rapid-screening sensor. Using a phenomenon known as giant
magnetoresistance (GMR), the device can detect samples on much smaller
areas compared to older technologies, the papers note.
As a test, Porter demonstrated the GMR sensor could detect as few as
800 magnetic beads with microscopic dimensions. “Several laboratories
have begun to transition GMRs from the data storage domain to that of
the bioanalytical sciences,” the paper states. “We believe that, by
leveraging advances made in the magnetic recording industry (for
example portable digital music players), a robust, field-deployable,
assay device capable of sensing single-binding events is just over the
News release courtesy of American Chemical Society on October 22, 2008.