Microfluidics technology has emerged as a powerful tool for point-of-care testing (POCT). Microfluidic diagnostics for POCT have the potential to reduce health care costs and improve patients' outcomes. As an industry-leading company, Creative Biolabs is equipped with the most advanced facilities, excellent capabilities, and rich expertise. We are capable of providing Microfluidic-based POCT development services.

Introduction of Microfluidic-Based POCT

The scientific community has witnessed the rapid development of POCT in the past few decades since POCT provides real-time diagnostic approaches in-home healthcare, accident points, and emergency situations. Compared with traditional laboratory testing with large instruments, which are labor-intensive, time-consuming, and expensive, POCT is affordable, sensitive, specific, user-friendly, rapid, robust, equipment-free and deliverable to end-users. Meanwhile, Microfluidics technology has emerged as a powerful tool for POCT due to its low sample consumption, short processing time, high sensitivity, and low cost. It can be integrated into disposable devices with high control of sample and multiplex tests. Hence, Microfluidics technology provides POCT an attractive platform where diverse applications can be realized in low-resource settings.

Applications of Microfluidic in POCT

Currently, the most successful portable Microfluidic devices should be rapid immuno-chromatographic test strips, also known as LFIAs. Nowadays, LFIAs are widely used in biomedical, phytosanitary, veterinary, food safety, and environmental settings for qualitative, semi-quantitative, and quantitative monitoring. The LFIA is not only used for the detection of a simplex target but also multiple targets. For simplex detection, it has the sandwich and competitive formats. In the sandwich assay, the target binds both detection probe on modified labels and capture probe at the test line, while in the competitive assay, either the target or modified labels bind with capture probe at the test line. For the detection of multiple targets, it is totally based on the sandwich assay, in which the appearance of the certain test line directly indicates the existence of the corresponding target of interest, and all the test lines share the same control line.

Schematic design of a lateral flow test.Fig.1 Schematic design of a lateral flow test. (Kulinsky, 2013)

  • Chip-based immunoassays

Microfluidic chip-based immunoassays systems are based on sandwich ELISA which shares a similar principle with sandwich LFIA. The main difference is to employ enzymes (e.g., horseradish peroxides and alkaline phosphatase enzyme) instead of gold nanoparticles, and further to add corresponding substrates for the generation of colorimetric, fluorescent, chemiluminescent, or electrochemical signals for readout. In a word, compared with LFIAs, Microfluidic chip-based immunoassays are much more sensitive. However, since they involve even more reaction steps, Microfluidic chip-based immunoassays are much more difficult to design and realize, thus increasing their cost.

  • Distance-based measurement

Distance-based measurement has several attractive advantages, allowing visual and instrument-free analysis, which is ideal for POCT. Compared with the most popular used intensity-based measurements, distance-based assays enable users to easily quantify the analyte by reading the length of a colored band along the channel, which requires no instruments and is less susceptible to user interpretation variance. Due to the advantages of Microfluidic devices, including low-cost, miniaturization, and integration, many distance-based measurements have been developed based on different Microfluidic platforms. Different Microfluidic platforms based on glass, polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS), paper, and thread can be selected in terms of target type, cost, fabrication process, and sensitivity requirement, etc.

A Microfluidic thread-based analytical device based on length measurement.Fig.2 A Microfluidic thread-based analytical device based on length measurement. (Tian, 2016)

  • Centrifugal Microfluidic POCT

Centrifugal Microfluidics serves as a basis for several POCT diagnostics applications. The centrifugal Microfluidic device uses the same principle of centrifugal force as bulkier centrifuges. This force coupled with the Microfluidic technology helps to reduce the sample volume, resulting in a faster reaction time and also enabling elimination of the external pumping sources. One of the attractive features of the centrifugal platform for POCT is that the sample preparation steps can be integrated seamlessly within the device-for example, whole blood fractionation can be achieved by centrifugation (for example, just the plasma fraction can be selected for subsequent processing).

Services at Creative Biolabs

Focusing on in vitro diagnostic device (IVD) development for years, Creative Biolabs has accumulated extensive experience and professional scientific staff from step-by-step practice. Our solid experimental foundation and experts pursuing the frontier of science are the most reliable guarantee that assures the quality of our services.

  • One-stop comprehensive services
  • Excellent expert team with advanced degrees
  • Flexible services form

Microfluidic-based POCT has become an attractive project and has great potential in the market in the future. With excellent industrial capacities, Creative Biolabs provides global customers with reliable and comprehensive Microfluidic-based POCT development services. If you are interested in Microfluidic-based POCT or other IVD relevant services, please don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

References

  1. Kulinsky, L.; et al. Present technology and future trends in point-of-care Microfluidic diagnostics. Methods Mol Biol. 2013, 949: 3-23.
  2. Tian, T.; et al. Distance-based Microfluidic quantitative detection methods for point-of-care testing. Lab Chip. 2016, 16(7): 1139-51.

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