Catherine Klapperich, PhD: BU
Numerous institutions and individuals are interested in delivering healthcare in low-income countries. CIMIT itself is moving forward with its own global health initiative. On Jan. 8, the topic of the CIMIT Forum at Simches Center at Massachusetts General Hospital was “The Future of Global Health.”
Two CIMIT-funded researchers discussed their work relating to diagnostic testing utilizing microfluidic technology directed at conditions ranging from avian flu to HIV. They said microfluidics holds promise to allow rapid and inexpensive diagnostic testing in settings without supportive laboratory infrastructure or personnel.
Moderating was Kristian Olson, MD, MPH, who heads the CIMIT Global Initiative while serving as senior advisor of the Massachusetts General Hospital Center for Global Health. Dr. Olson is developing incubators from spare auto parts for medical centers in emerging countries, while directing CIMIT and MGH initiatives overseas.
Dr. Catherine Klapperich, PhD, assistant professor of manufacturing and biomedical engineering at Boston University, spoke on “Disposable Molecular Diagnostics: Microfluidic Laboratories for the Field.”
She discussed the formulation, fabrication and testing of microfluidic solid phase extraction columns based on polymer monoliths impregnated with nanoparticulate inclusions for protein and nucleic acid isolation for patient samples.
Dr. Klapperich also addressed practical concerns about the direct use of patient samples (blood, urine, saliva and stool).
Utkan Demirci, Phd, instructor of medicine and health sciences and technology, Harvard Medical School, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology Bio-Acoustic-MEMS in Medicine, also spoke.
His topic was “Disposable, Point-of-Care Microchips for CD4 Counts in Resource Limited Settings.”
Dr. Demirci said that his team’s objective is to develop novel point-of-care low-cost diagnostics to bridge emerging engineering nano- and micro-scale solutions to HIV-infected patients. The lab’s target is a point-of-care, low cost disposable, microfluidic device that uses a fingerstick blood sample and produces a CD4 count rapidly with on-chip sample handling and will accelerate CD4 counting in resource-limited settings.
More than 35 million HIV-infected people live in the developing world, yet it is estimated that only one in ten persons infected with HIV has been tested and knows his/her HIV status. The U.S National Intelligence Council (NIC) predicted that the number of HIV-infected individuals in the developing world would rise to 80 million by 2010. Effective antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV has been available in developed countries for more than a decade. However, worldwide, less than 10% (1.3 million) of all the infected individuals are currently receiving treatment, since most affected persons live in developing countries. Part of the problem associated with existing ART delivery systems are the limitations of conventional methods to diagnose and monitor infected individuals living in rural poor communities. In order to increase access to HIV care and to improve treatment outcomes requires an urgent development of low-cost diagnostic tools for developing countries[2-5].
Utkan Demirci’s team’s objective is to develop novel point-of-care low cost diagnostics to bridge emerging engineering nano- and micro-scale solutions to HIV infected patients at resource limited. This laboratory at the interface of Harvard and MIT specializes in applying micro- and nano-scale techniques to problems in medicine. The Lab’s target is a point-of-care, low-cost (<$1), disposable, microfluidic device which uses a fingerstick blood sample (<10 µl) and produces a CD4 count rapidly (<1 min) with on-chip sample handling and will greatly accelerate CD4 counting in resource-limited settings.
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