Researchers hope programmable unit may help emergency medical staff rapidly diagnose patients.

Rice University researchers have been awarded a $3.7 million grant by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas to further develop and commercialize a bioprocessor-driven diagnostic Bio-Nano-Chip for cancer applications.

The chip is designed to be programmable for identifying specific biomarkers in body fluids that could help rapidly diagnose diseases such as cancer, HIV, and heart disease, claims the Rice team led by John McDevitt, Ph.D., Brown-Wiess professor in bioengineering and chemistry and head of the bioscience research collaborative laboratory.

Separate human trials with the new chip are already ongoing to identify markers of heart attack and oral cancer. Professor McDevitt says he hopes the technology may one day be used by emergency medical technicians to help diagnose patients either at the site of call-out or in the ambulance.

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