A working prototype of a handheld DNA Chip Reader has already been developed and has demonstrated the capability of detecting HIV and Hepatitis C Viruses.
CMS bioelectronic detectors are based on CMS microchips that contain numerous electronically active `pads’ coated with specific DNA capture probes. The number of pads and types of probes can be varied depending on the application.
What happens when a DNA or RNA-containing sample is introduced to a CMS microchip with attached reader? First, they are subjected to simple chemical or physical treatment which causes human cells, bacteria and viruses to burst or lyse. In this way the target DNA (or RNA) is made available for `hybridisation’.
If the probe DNA encounters complementary DNA from the sample, hybridisation occurs immediately. When a slight voltage is applied to the sample following hybridization, the ferrocene labels release electrons that rapidly tunnel through the double-stranded DNA and/or molecular wires, yielding an electronic signal that can be detected through the microelectrode. The Company’s proprietary reader interprets the electrical signal to both identify and quantify the target DNA. The data may then be downloaded to a computer.
The technology is not limited, however, to a chip surface only. Thus, the idea of `tests-in-a-tube’ utilising CMS technology directly in the specimen collection tube, for example, is one that scientists and engineers at CMS are also actively pursuIng. Handheld, point of care instruments for the physician’s office or the emergency room, as well as instruments for the clinical diagnostics laboratory and other markets are all being developed.
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