Because living organisms contain millions of different molecules, identifying or separating any single one of these from their natural environment in order to carry out research work or perform diagnoses is quite like looking for a needle in a haystack. A number of molecular separation technologies are of course available, and are used by laboratories on a daily basis, but they are often unwieldy and costly. Scientists the world over are therefore attempting to develop a new generation of analytic devices, known as labs-on-a-chip, where all the technological phases of laboratory work are integrated into speedy automated procedures, in what can be deemed to be a single sample to diagnosis step.
CNRS scientists (1) working at the Institut Curie, together with an ESPCI team, have broken new ground in this field, coming closer to such systems with a technology they have called Ephesia (2) . Combining knowledge and tools developed in physics, chemistry, and biology, they have developed an original approach based on the use of self-organizing nanospheres, which handle the key molecule sorting phase within these chips. This new technology paves the way to a whole field of applications both in genetics and in biochemistry, ranging from the study of molecules to medical diagnostics, in particular in oncology with a view to detecting mutations or micrometastases. These new results are to be published by Science magazine on March 22.
A wide range of labs-on-a-chip using very different concepts and materials are currently being developed the world over. The basic idea which they all share is that the various component phases involved in the analysis of given samples are conducted within microchannels (ranging from one tenth to one hundredth of a millimeter) etched onto a microchip. The samples and the substances used to process them, with a view to extracting specific molecules, are injected into these channels and moved about using micropumps, ultra-small pneumatic systems, and electric fields. The device developed by the Institut Curie team is based on a silicone rubber wafer with a 4 cm diameter, within which fine channels have been moulded. This medium was initially developed by G.M. Whitesides at Harvard University in the United States and is well suited for mass production because of its low cost. One of the major issues in developing a lab-on-a-chip involves building molecule-sorting sieves that will operate within these microchannels. This is the problem to which the Institut Curie and ESPCI teams have provided an original solution, interfacing physics, chemistry, and biology.
Catherine Goupillon | alphagalileo
Water forms 'spine of hydration' around DNA, group finds
26.05.2017 | Cornell University
How herpesviruses win the footrace against the immune system
26.05.2017 | Helmholtz-Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Staphylococcus aureus is a feared pathogen (MRSA, multi-resistant S. aureus) due to frequent resistances against many antibiotics, especially in hospital infections. Researchers at the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut have identified immunological processes that prevent a successful immune response directed against the pathogenic agent. The delivery of bacterial proteins with RNA adjuvant or messenger RNA (mRNA) into immune cells allows the re-direction of the immune response towards an active defense against S. aureus. This could be of significant importance for the development of an effective vaccine. PLOS Pathogens has published these research results online on 25 May 2017.
Staphylococcus aureus (S. aureus) is a bacterium that colonizes by far more than half of the skin and the mucosa of adults, usually without causing infections....
Physicists from the University of Würzburg are capable of generating identical looking single light particles at the push of a button. Two new studies now demonstrate the potential this method holds.
The quantum computer has fuelled the imagination of scientists for decades: It is based on fundamentally different phenomena than a conventional computer....
An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.
We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...
Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.
Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...
An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...
24.05.2017 | Event News
23.05.2017 | Event News
22.05.2017 | Event News
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Life Sciences
26.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy