HemeChip for Early Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease

Yunus Alapan, Ryan Ung, Megan Romelfanger, Asya Akkus, Connie Piccone, Jane Little, and Umut Gurkan
Case Western Reserve University
Cleveland, OH

“Our motivation in development of the HemeChip stems from the needs of the people, as do all technological developments. We believe adaptation and translation of high-end technologies in medicine from the laboratory benchtop to the point-of-care has a lot to offer in diagnostics and monitoring of complicated diseases, such as sickle cell disease, in resource-limited settings. Our HemeChip design addresses the challenges widely encountered in these resource-limited settings. We hope this award will help us reach out to potential benefactors, investors, and companies for further support in diagnosis of sickle cell disease in newborns.”
The Hemoglobin-Electrophoresis Biochip (HemeChip) can rapidly, easily, and conclusively identify the hemoglobin type in blood to diagnose Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) in newborns. The HemeChip can accurately identify hemoglobin type in a drop of blood. The ultimate goal is to reduce the footprint of hemoglobin screening for newborns down to the size of a credit card via HemeChip, which can be easily carried in a pocket together with a smartphone for mobile analysis.

A microengineered design and microfluidic approach are used in HemeChip. Microfluidic technology allows small sample volume (<20μL, fingerpick/heelprick blood), portability, ease of use, and low power consumption. The microchip system allows rapid manual assembly and is single-use, preventing potential cross-contamination between patients.

A mobile imaging and quantification algorithm will be integrated to achieve reliable and repeatable results, even in resource-poor settings. The quantification algorithm will automatically plot intensity histograms along channels, and highest intensity locations will be evaluated. Positions of healthy/sickle hemoglobin will be determined using the histogram plots, and results will be displayed on the screen.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/hemechip 

Honorable Mentions


Christopher LaFarge, MedicaMetrix, Wayland, MA

ProstaGlove® is a novel medical device to measure prostate volume and enable calculation of PSA Density (PSAD), which can be used to identify men at high risk for clinically significant prostate cancer. ProstaGlove is similar to a standard exam glove used during a Digital Rectal Exam (DRE), but has a balloon around the forefinger with fiber optic sensors and a calibrated grid that enable a physician to measure the width of the palpable surface of the prostate through the rectal wall. A proprietary algorithm determines prostate volume. When the balloon is inflated during use, it creates a clean void and positions a calibrated grid on the surface of the rectal wall immediately proximate to the prostate.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/prosta-glove 

Urocycler Automatic Bladder Management System

Dr. David Flinchbaugh, Tech Applications Int’l, LLC, Orlando, FL

The UroCycler Auto matic Bladder Management System, a magnetic prosthetic sphincter technology, allows the bladders of catheterized patients to function in a normal cyclic manner. The key component — a unique, low-pressure-sensitive magnetic valve — is attached to the proximal end of the indwelling Foley catheter exiting the body. The device is precision-made to critical tolerances, assembled in a cleanroom environment, and utilizes ceramic permanent magnets to hold the valve closed initially. When the urine pressure reaches a normal voiding value, the valve opens fully and the patient experiences a “normal” flow rate of urine until the bladder is empty.

For more information, visit http://contest.techbriefs.com/urocycler 

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2014 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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