MinoLab - A mini lab the size of a credit card
Infectious diseases call for swift treatment in clinical routine. Sepsis, i.e. blood poisoning, is the second most common cause of death in Austria’s intensive care units after heart disease. Approximately 7,500 patients die of sepsis every year. If treated with antibiotics in time, most of these blood poisoning deaths would be prevented.
However, conventional sepsis diagnostic methods take at least 48 hours; even modern, molecular biology based tests require six to eight hours. In the case of acute sepsis, this is far too slow to be able to begin targeted therapy in time. The MinoLab project has, therefore, set out to develop an easy-to-use diagnostic platform that delivers test resultsin under an hour, thereby making timely treatment possible.
Fully automated diagnostics
MinoLab combines a desktop device with a disposable plastic card. The card contains integrated fluidics and reagents designed to diagnose sepsis. The genetic proof of pathogens in the blood is delivered by so-called “beads” - magnetic, micrometer- sized particles. A magnet draws these beads to various reaction chambers on the card. If pathogens are found in the patient’s blood, the beads bind to the pathogens.
A magnetic biosensor chip on the card conducts the analysis. The easy-to-use, affordable system is fully automatic, so that even nonmedical people can operate it. From the time the sample is taken, it is targeted that only about an hour elapses until a result is obtained.
The project is a bi-national cooperation between German and Austrian partners, whereby the magnetic biosensor chip was developed in Austria. And sepsis diagnosis is only the beginning. Due to its modular design, MinoLab is also suitable for other diagnostic applications, for example to diagnose infectious diseases like Ebola, SARS, MRSA or HIV.
Other Consortium Partners
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Zuverlässigkeit und Mikrointegration IZM (D)
- Fraunhofer-Institut für Zelltherapie und Immunologie IZI (D)
- microfluidic ChipShop GmbH (D)
- Danube Mobile Communications Engineering GmbH & Co KG (AT)