Lab on a Chip, Not Chip in a Lab
Rheonix’ CARD (chemical and reagent device) technology is a point-of-care assay product that is completely disposable and can be used by technicians with no special training and with minimal instrumentation, according to Peng Zhou, senior vp.
CARD is constructed of 1 mm thick polystyrene using a fabrication method called solvent elimination. The process takes 15 to 20 seconds, and when it is complete, all of the valves, channels, and networks are in place on the card, reported Zhou.
Rheonix is a spin-off from Kionix. At first, it used MEMS-based materials such as silica and glass wafers to create microfluidics devices. “We realized that the requirements for applications in the life science areas are so different that we switched to a different substrate and developed a totally different fabrication method,” said Zhou.
Sample preparation is included on one of the modules on the CARD, as well as amplification and endpoint detection, which is carried out by means of microarray technology. The CARD can identify 20–30 different subtypes of viruses. The main application is clinical testing, where a sample of blood or a cheek swab can be taken and analyzed immediately on the CARD.
The CARD is able to fully manifest the idea of lab-on-a-chip, which has not yet been fully realized by microfluidic technologies, Zhou said. “Instead of lab-on-a-chip, you have chips in a lab. People have heard about it a lot, but no one can actually deliver. I hope that what Rheonix has done is really demonstrate that we have indeed successfully built a highly functional and automated processes for molecular diagnostic around CARD technology.”