Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Compact microscope a marvel

05.08.2010
Matches performance of expensive lab gear in diagnosing TB

A compact microscope invented at Rice University is proving its potential to impact global health.

In a paper published online today in the journal PLoS ONE, Rice alumnus Andrew Miller and co-authors show that his portable, battery-operated fluorescence microscope, which costs $240, stacks up nicely against devices that retail for as much as $40,000 in diagnosing signs of tuberculosis.

Miller and colleagues at The Methodist Hospital Research Institute (TMHRI) analyzed samples from 19 patients suspected of having TB, an infectious disease that usually attacks the lungs and can be fatal if not treated. His instrument, called the Global Focus microscope, performed just as well as the lab's reference-standard fluorescence microscope. The team reported similar findings were obtained in 98.4 percent of the samples tested.

Miller created the 2.5-pound microscope as his senior design project last year, working with faculty in Rice 360¢ª: Institute for Global Health Technologies. The goal was to make an inexpensive, portable and highly capable microscope that could be used in clinics in developing countries that have limited access to lab equipment and may lack electricity.

The microscope was built with off-the-shelf parts encased in a rugged plastic shell Miller created with a 3-D printer at Rice's Oshman Engineering Design Kitchen (OEDK). Light to power the 1,000-times magnification microscope comes from a top-mounted LED flashlight.

The Global Focus microscope won this year's Hershel M. Rich Invention Award, which is presented annually by Rice Engineering Alumni to a Rice faculty member or student who has developed an original invention. It was the first undergraduate project to win the award.

Miller graduated from Rice in 2009 with a degree in bioengineering and works full time as a medical device designer for Thoratec, a San Francisco company that makes ventricular assist devices. Part time, he continues working to commercialize the microscope in a way that will ensure its cost remains low for users in developing countries. He has also replaced the microscope's plastic casing with aluminum for better stability.

Miller and Rice have contracted with a medical device consultant, 3rd Stone Design, to produce 20 microscopes that will be ready for field testing next month.

"The World Health Organization estimates that 1.3 million people died from tuberculosis in 2008," said Rebecca Richards-Kortum, Rice's Stanley C. Moore Professor of Bioengineering and the founding director of Rice 360¡Æ. "Andy's microscope, which is portable, durable and inexpensive, could be used to diagnose tuberculosis in community or rural health centers with limited infrastructure in the developing world, promoting early detection and successful treatment of the disease."

The trial used TB smear samples from Tehran, Iran. Ahmad Bahrmand, former TB laboratory director of the Pasteur Institute of Iran, brought sputum smear samples from the infected patients when he came to work for Edward Graviss, director of the TMHRI Molecular Tuberculosis Laboratory.

Four days of blind testing of 63 smear samples, including control slides, confirmed the Global Focus microscope was every bit as capable as the lab's more sophisticated instrument in identifying positive smear specimens.

"This is hugely significant as a point-of-care tool clinicians can use for tuberculosis patients, whether they're in Asia or Africa or even in West Texas," Graviss said. "The first identification of TB is usually made with a smear, and it will be good to know that in the field instead of having to wait three or four days to get the smear to a lab.

"The idea was to compare a field-grade type microscope with what we see in a standard TB laboratory, such as what we have at Methodist," he said. "When we compared the results between the two microscopes, there was no significant difference. The quality is there, and you're not going to miss anything by using one of these point-of-care microscopes."

A new team of Rice students is developing software to help untrained clinicians to diagnose tuberculosis in the field through image processing on a smart phone, perhaps as an iPhone app.

Co-authors of the paper include Rice alum Gregory Davis; Maria Oden, professor in the practice of engineering education at Rice and director of the OEDK; Mark Pierce, a faculty fellow in bioengineering at Rice; Randall Olsen, a Methodist Hospital pathologist and TMHRI scientist; and Mohamad Razavi, Abolfazl Fateh, Morteza Ghazanfari, Farid Abdolrahimi, Shahin Pourazar and Fatemeh Sakhaee of the Pasteur Institute of Iran.

The program was supported by a grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program.

Read the paper here: http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0011890

David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.rice.edu

More articles from Medical Engineering:

nachricht Rutgers researchers develop automated robotic device for faster blood testing
14.06.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht Speech comprehension with a cochlear implant
04.06.2018 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Medical Engineering >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Superconducting vortices quantize ordinary metal

Russian researchers together with their French colleagues discovered that a genuine feature of superconductors -- quantum Abrikosov vortices of supercurrent -- can also exist in an ordinary nonsuperconducting metal put into contact with a superconductor. The observation of these vortices provides direct evidence of induced quantum coherence. The pioneering experimental observation was supported by a first-ever numerical model that describes the induced vortices in finer detail.

These fundamental results, published in the journal Nature Communications, enable a better understanding and description of the processes occurring at the...

Im Focus: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rapid water formation in diffuse interstellar clouds

25.06.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Using tree-fall patterns to calculate tornado wind speed

25.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

'Stealth' material hides hot objects from infrared eyes

25.06.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>