Blood Tests on a Cellphone

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Researchers in Uppsala Sweden are developing a portable laboratory that enables mobile phone users to conduct a quick and accurate analysis of blood samples. A disposable microfluidic chip that is able to analyse blood samples and thereby identify inflammatory conditions the need for antibiotics and the risk of heart disease.

Attached to the phone, the chip measures quantities of specific biomarkers such as CRP, Troponin I or T, and BNP in blood samples. A micro pump, which is based on paraffin expansion and powered by the mobile phone battery, pushes the sample through channels, filters and the reaction chamber on the chip.

A camera then reads the tests results as light signals off the chip. This process is based on bioluminescence, which is the same chemical reaction that makes fireflies glow. After only a few minutes the results can be sent to a doctor, over a mobile phone network or the Internet. The only additional equipment the micro laboratory needs is a mobile phone with a digital camera.

Between five and ten million CRP-tests are conducted every year in Sweden alone. The Uppsala researchers aim to enhance the chip's functionalities even further in order to allow the conduction of several parallel blood analyses. The new bioanalytical microchip test is a time and cost efficient alternative to common blood tests, which costs about USD27 million per year in Sweden.

"The finalized chip has the potential to respond to any biomarker for which there is an existing antibody", says Jonas

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