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Scientists create DNA-testing microscope for smartphones

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(1 Apr 2017) LEADIN:Scientists have created a simple, 3D-printed microscope, which - when attached to a smartphone - can be used to analyse DNA.It's claimed the technology can be used to diagnose cancerous tumors or infections like tuberculosis.STORYLINE:Smartphones are being used for everything nowadays - from live-streaming videos to controlling a home's heating - but how about DNA sequencing?Here at Stockholm's Science for Life Laboratory, experts are using this small, simple, 3D-printed microscope attachment - coupled to a standard smartphone - to analyse samples."This is the device, this is the setup," explains Malte Kuhnemund, a post-doc researcher at Science for Life Laboratory."The 3D printed attachment that is sitting underneath the actual mobile phone here. You can imagine the camera of the mobile phone sits on that side. "What you have in this attachment is actually two LED lights that sit facing the camera module. "What you then do is insert a sample slide into the sample holder and then you basically use the camera module of the phone to take images of your sample. "And if you zoom in you can see these individual dots that show individual molecules amplified and analysed through our technology."Scientists used a Nokia Lumia smartphone, first released in 2013, due to its customisable 41 mega-pixel camera. The smartphone was cheaply purchased on online marketplace eBay.The 3D-printed microscope attachment uses two LED lights and a special lens that magnifies the image so scientists can view individual cells.This allows them to analyse DNA chains and detect variants, telling them what form of cancer, bacteria or virus is involved.This kind of mobile DNA sequencing is a departure from big, expensive and complicated machines commonly used in labs.This raises the prospect of carrying out the same kind of analysis in remote areas or places where the technology is too costly.Mats Nilsson, a professor of biochemistry at Stockholm University, says the 3D-printed attachment can be manufactured for less than $500 USD."DNA analysis technologies require instruments that require a lot of electricity power, you have to put it into different infrastructure," he says."This is self-operating, there is not a single cord connected to it. So, I think this is the major impact of this thing. So, I can think of applications in really remote areas all over the globe, you don't really need any infrastructure."It runs on the smartphone's internal battery, meaning it's not reliant on any external power source.Nilsson claims the 3D-printed microscope holds particular promise for tackling antibiotic resistance in tuberculosis.In countries such as India, tuberculosis patients are sometimes given drugs that aren't effective because their TB is resistant."What we envision is that after your microscopy test to see whether you have tuberculosis bacteria, which actually be performed on one these platforms, you could do the genetic test to see whether the bacteria has the resistance genes or not for the antibiotics," says Nilsson. "And then you will be prescribed the antibiotic that will work on you. And then you save months of inefficient treatment, during which you will be contagious and you will spread the disease to your family and friends."Paul Sommerfeld from TB Alert, a UK-based tuberculosis charity, says the microscope attachment is an interesting project."This particular piece of research is one of a number of efforts that are being made to make it easier to diagnose tuberculosis as close as possible to where people seek care and treatment," he says."Even $500 is quite a lot of money for medical services in really, really resource poor areas."You can license this story through AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/metadata/you... Find out more about AP Archive: http://www.aparchive.com/HowWeWork


AP Archive 4088989 16de5a35e604830b661b65c0511cd2c3 HZ Sweden Mobile Microscope Sweden Western Europe Stockholm United Kingdom Technology Health Science
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