Testing and diagnosis is moving out of the lab and to the point-of-care. One recent example of this is the device that QuantuMDx is developing: a handheld molecular diagnostic and sequencing device to deliver rapid disease diagnosis at the point-of-care. Their goal is to enable routine real-time personalized medicine with a simple device that can deliver DNA analysis in under 15 minutes.
The QuantuMDx device incorporates an array of nanowires that acts as a biosensor to detect the presents of pathogens. Each nanowire in the array is coated with target probes. When the sample runs across the nanowire, any complementary DNA binds to the probe. As DNA is naturally negatively charged, this hybridization causes a change in the resistance of the wire which can be detected by QuantumMDx’s application specific integrated circuit (ASIC). With the addition of some unique chemistries, the biosensor can also perform DNA sequencing on the detected pathogens.
QuantuMDx aims to “link the genomes of living things in an Internet of Life that is monitored in real time, providing critical information to epidemiologists and public health officials.”
The company hopes to be able to monitor emerging pathogen threats and perform pharmaco-surveillance such that hot spots of drug resistance can be identified and the dynamics of pathogen mutation in populations can be understood.
We will be seeing more instrumentation being miniaturized and employed at the point-of-care. Intelligent human factors and industrial design will critical to the success of these devices.