Office Inkjet Printer To Produce Tool To Identify Infectious Diseases

Office Inkjet Printer To Produce Tool To Identify Infectious Diseases
A) Making paper sensors using a regular irkjet printer with
cartridge containing DNA-based bio-ink. B) The paper sensor
is simple to use - add a droplet of test sample and look for the
right text to show up. (C) A real sensor designed to detect two
biomarkers, ATP ( a small-molecule biomarker for abcteria) and
PDGF (a protein biomarker for cancer). 'A' lights up when ATP
is present and 'P' lights up when the test sample has PDGF.
(Credit: McMaster University)
Consumers are one step closer to benefiting from packaging that could give simple text warnings when food is contaminated with deadly pathogens like E. coli and Salmonella, and patients could soon receive real-time diagnoses of infections such as C. difficile right in their doctors' offices, saving critical time and trips to the lab. The findings were published in Chemistry - A European Journal.
 
Researchers have developed a new way to print paper biosensors, simplifying the diagnosis of many bacterial and respiratory infections. The new platform is the latest in a progression of paper-based screening technologies, which now enable users to generate a clear, simple answer in the form of letters and symbols that appear on the test paper to indicate the presence of infection or contamination in people, food or the environment.
 
"Imagine being able to clearly identify contaminated meat, vegetables or fruit. For patients suspected of having infectious diseases like C. diff, this technology allows doctors to quickly and simply diagnose their illnesses, saving time and expediting what could be life-saving treatments. This method can be extended to virtually any compound, be it a small molecule, bacterial cell or virus," the researchers said.
 
The research, in its formative stage, addresses a key problem facing current paper-based biosensing techniques which are labour-intensive, sometimes costly and inconvenient, and often difficult to mass produce.
 
Using state-of-the-art methods to produce "bio-inks", researchers can now use conventional office ink-jet printers to print man-made DNA molecules with very high molecular weight on paper, much like printing a letter in an office. The sheer size of the DNA - which produces a signal when a specific disease biomarker is present - is enough to ensure it remains immobilized and therefore stable. The paper sensor emerges from the printer ready to use, like pH paper.
 
The implications are significant, the researchers concluded, since the new technology could be used in many fields where quick answers to important questions are critical. Rapid detection of cancer or monitoring toxins in the water supply, there are hundreds of possibilities.
 
Based on material originally posted by McMaster University.