Diagnostics in the palm of your hand
SAN FRANCISCO: Thomas Warinner, head of Grenelabs, seeks crowdfunding to raise $75,000 by December 20, 2013 to support the completion of the technologically new, lab-on-a chip diagnostic tool.
This device, small enough to fit in the palm of a hand, is designed using reliable scientific knowledge coupled with breakthrough technology. It enables users to diagnose diseases within minutes without electricity and costly upkeep, making it ideal for use in developing countries around the world and by independent research labs whose funds are oftentimes limited.
"Imagine a world in which developing countries can have access to technologies in order to diagnose and prevent the spread of diseases," said Warinner, creator of the lab-on-a-chip device. "The importance of these chips is not to just open up research, but to identify illnesses in people who could otherwise not be diagnosed." Many of these are illnesses that could be contained and treated, if caught in time, rather than allowing them to run rampant, sickening or killing people and/or animals.
So how does it work? Basically, the lab-on-a chip manipulates liquids in capillary tubes within the chip based on the science of microfluidics. For example, a drop of blood is sent past biomarkers that change when positive.
Although disposable, the lab-on-a-chip is designed to be accurate over multiple uses. Grenelabs developed the ability to perform diagnostic testing in any setting, making it useful in disaster situations, remote areas, and developing countries.
"This technology will change the world," Warinner said of his innovative tool that measures half the size of a credit card. But, in order to move forward, funding is needed.
In an effort to raise funds, support levels have been created. Choose a dollar amount and receive the assigned perk. For instance, a $55 donation will give the donor a digital copy of a huge modern art mural with DNA sequencing; a $125 donation will reward the contributor with a lab-on-a-chip engraved with the contributor's name to be given to an area in need; a $500 donation gets the supporter a special work of art with an individualized DNA sequencing as the focus; and a $1200 donation allows givers to conduct their own genetic experiments with an electrophoresis unit deliverable by January 2014.
While the initial goal is to collect $75,000 for finalization and production of the chip, more money is needed to improve the lab-on-a-chip's reach. With $200,000, an upgraded software system will allow all users, inexperienced and experienced, to utilize the chip. With $500,000, the number of diseases and infections that can be recognized by the device would increase. And imagine having a personal diagnostic system at home; with $1,000,000, that would be a possibility.