On the Spot Diagnosis
Mobile devices promise a new future of point-of-care diagnostics for all
Laura Lechuga |
Reality always surpasses fiction. Take, for example, the cult science fiction movie “Gattaca.” In the film, the police identified citizens using instant genetic analysis on a mobile device. No one would have believed that it could actually happen. Years later, the fiction is turning into reality thanks to the latest advances in point-of-care (POC) devices, nanobiosensors, microfluidics, lab-on-chip and cellphone technologies. The idea of using your own smartphone as an instantaneous diagnostic device by just adding a few drops of your blood, saliva, urine or tears onto a biochip, is getting closer to reality every day – and it is a concept I find fascinating.
Such is their utility that POC technologies are applicable across a broad range of healthcare contexts – from preventive medicine to advanced personalized and precision medicine. Importantly, they open a window of hope for economically disadvantaged countries and low-resource environments, where most of the population does not have access to hospitals or clinical labs (but they have a cell phone).
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