3D Printing and Nanosensor Technology for Early Stage Disease Detection
Dan Thomas posted on April 04, 2014 |
Research demonstrates 3D printed micro-channels can examine micro quantities of body fluids

Detection strategies based on nanowire offer a promising new route towards rapidly detecting diseases such as cancer. I recently reported on the successfully integration of 3D printed components with nanosensor technology in the medical journal, Point-of-Care.  The article had the catchy title, "Fabrication of an integrated 3D printed polymer SiNW-based microfluidic point of care system for detecting 8-OHdG cancer biomarker"

The fabrication of 200µm width active flow micro-channels by 3D printing methods is an essential component that enables the examination of micro-litre quantities of bodily fluid in non-invasive diagnostic devices. By flexographically printing metal contacts onto 3D printed devices, we were able to subsequently integrate it with a nanosensor chip.

3D printed device with an integrated microchannel, flexographic printed metal contacts and a nanosensor.

The silicon nanowire-based nanosensor combined to the device was functionalised with 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine (8-OHdG) antibodies that are used to detect oxidative stress biomarkers linked to the presence of several common cancers. A biomarker is an indicator of a biological state of disease, so they can be used to monitor or recognise disruption or alterations in normal cellular processes. This research fabricated and tested the 3D printed microchannel-based device to detect the presence of 8-OHdG biomarkers, which can be used to indicate the early presence of a range of different cancers.

Integrated 3D printed microchannel.

Research such as this highlights that 3D printing can be used to facilitate the development of novel chemical-based methods of disease detection. Using 3D printed polymers offers a straightforward, cost effective and rapid means towards the development of novel microfluidic devices and thus accelerates technology development.

Further, it opens up many possibilities for integrating 3D printing methods with nanosensor technology, which can lead to inexpensive methods for screening disease biomarkers. This could open up new ways towards the development of future nanosensor-based diagnostic devices which could have profound effects towards the rapid development of novel biomedical technologies.

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