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|14 January 2017|


The development of new medical labs on a chip – which act as potential life-saving nanotechnology detetctives – will revolutionise healthcare within five years, according to IBM’s annual 5in5 predictions.

“Early detection of disease is crucial. In most cases, the earlier the disease is diagnosed, the more likely it is to be cured or well controlled. However, diseases like cancer can be hard to detect – hiding in our bodies before symptoms appear. Information about the state of our health can be extracted from tiny bioparticles in bodily fluids such as saliva, tears, blood, urine and sweat.

Existing scientific techniques face challenges for capturing and analyzing these bioparticles, which are thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a strand of human hair,” according to IBM.

In five years new medical labs on a chip will serve as nanotechnology health detectives” which “will allow us to examine and filter bodily fluids for tiny bioparticles that reveal signs of disease like cancer before we have any symptoms, letting us know immediately if we should consult a doctor,” an IBM blog revealed.

“The lab-on-a-chip technology could ultimately be packaged in a convenient handheld device to allow people to quickly and regularly measure the presence of biomarkers found in small amounts of bodily fluids, sending this information securely streaming into the cloud from the convenience of their home. There it could be combined with real-time health data from other IoT-enabled devices, like sleep monitors and smart watches, and analyzed by AI systems for insights. When taken together, this data set will give us an in depth view of our health and alert us to the first signs of trouble, helping to stop disease before it progresses,” IBM said.

“At IBM Research, scientists are developing lab-on-a-chip nanotechnology that can separate and isolate bioparticles down to 20 nanometers in diameter, a scale that gives access to DNA, viruses, and exosomes. These particles could be analyzed to potentially reveal the presence of disease even before we have symptoms.”

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Written By

Iain is a creative writer, journalist and lecturer, and formerly an editor of two international business publications. Iain is now editor of Innovators Magazine, as well as the strategic content director for OnePoint5Media.


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