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Integrated microfluidic pneumatic circuit for point-of-care molecular diagnostics

Shin, Suyeon, Kim, Byeongyeon, Kim, Yoon-Jin, Choi, Sungyoung
Biosensors & bioelectronics 2019 v.133 pp. 169-176
biomarkers, biosensors, blood plasma, blood sampling, diagnostic techniques, fluorescence microscopes, oligonucleotides, point-of-care systems, proteomics, stabilizers, thrombin, wastes
Developing simple, portable, rapid, and easy-to-use diagnostic technologies is essential for point-of-care (POC) blood molecular testing. Integrated microfluidic devices that include the functionalities of blood separation, microfluidic pumping, and molecular detection are desirable for POC testing; however, current technologies still rely on off-chip sample processing or require bulky equipment. We report a fully-integrated microfluidic diagnostic device, i.e., an integrated pneumatic microfluidic circuit (iPC), that can autonomously pump whole blood, continuously sort blood plasma, and readily enable blood plasma proteomic analysis. The iPC contains vacuum pillars as a vacuum source and waste reservoir, as well as microchannels connecting the pillars as a plasma separator or a flow stabilizer. We combined the iPC and a miniaturized fluorescence microscope to create a portable diagnostic platform that enables fluorescence-based biomarker detection. First, we performed systematic parametric studies to establish design rules for determining the transport and distribution of fluid streams in the iPC. We then demonstrated the capability of the iPC-based diagnostic platform by successfully separating blood plasma from microliter quantities of whole blood while simultaneously quantifying thrombin in blood samples using an aptamer beacon within 5 min of sample injection. Our platform holds potential as a rapid, field-deployable, essentially universal diagnostic tool in POC settings.