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Introduction of Lab-on-a-chip by IBM may Help Diagnose Cancer in Advance to its Symptoms

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Published on : Aug 04, 2016

At IBM, scientists have launched a new technology known as lab-on-chip technology that is capable of separating biological particles at nano scale and can also in help in the detection of diseases such as cancer, even before they exhibit any kind of symptoms. Researchers also demonstrated a size-based spacing for bio particles upto 20 nanometers in diameter. This is a scale that imparts an access to significant particles including exosomes, viruses, and DNA.

After the particles are separated, they can be evaluated to substantially present the symptoms of a disease even prior to the patients experiencing any kind of physical symptoms and also in cases where the treatment outcome has been primarily positive. Till now, the minutest bio particle that can be separated by size by utilizing on-chip technologies in size was approximately 50 times or bigger, for instance, separation of tumor cells that are circulating from other kind of biological components. 

Exosomes are seen as biomarkers for both the prognosis and diagnosis of tumors that are malignant. Exosomes are easily released in accessible bodily fluids such as blood or urine and saliva. They present a precious biomedical tool as they can be utilized in context of relatively less invasive biopsies for finding the nature and origin of cancer. 

Exosomes are present in the size range from 20 to 40 nm and comprise information on the health of the cell they are shed through. Researchers also stated that they are capable of detecting and separating particles as tiny as 20 nm from tiny particles. Owing to this ability of sorting bio particles at the nanoscale, researchers are in the hope of providing a new method to check on the messages that were transferred by exosomes in case of cell-to-cell communications. 

Hence, this new introduction can bring on new questions on the disease biology and can also make a way for more affordable and non-invasive point-of-care diagnostic tools.