Low-cost diagnostics close to patient with novel Lab-on-DVD system

Standard DVD drives can now be used as a laser scanning microscope for low-cost diagnostics of biomolecules. Scientists from the Royal Institute of Technology (KTH) shows in a recent publication in the journal Lab on a Chip that existing optics in DVD drives can with some modifications be used as an inexpensive alternative for diagnostics in the field.


The novel DVD platform, which integrates sample handling and detection, is an inexpensive system for analysis of biomolecules, such as DNA, RNA, protein and even whole cells. The platform builds on existing fluidic and optical technologies, such as the commercial DVD drive, and can be produced in large quantities. The low-cost makes this kind of device a preferred choice for diagnostics performed close to the patient and with fast processing times so that the patient does not have to leave and return, so called point of care diagnostics. As proof of concept CD4+ cells were captured from whole blood and visualized with the DVD-based laser scanning microscope (DVD-LSM).

‘We have used an existing DVD platform and converted into a novel platform for biomolecule analysis’, says Assoc. Prof. Aman Russom, group leader of the Clinical Microfluidics group in the division of Proteomics and Nanobiotechnology. ‘We have benefited from more than 30 years of progress in the optical disc industry and included finesses such as temperature and rotational control into this robust system to develop a prototype for low-cost point of care diagnostics’, says Aman Russom.

One of the key strengths with the system is that it allows image resolution down to 1 μm. This is a unique feature and also something that has been picked up by Nature Photonics, one of the most prestigious journals in the photonics field, who presents this study in the April issue.

The study was sponsored in part by the European Commission through the project FP7 Digital sequencing.


Lab on DVD: standard DVD drives as a novel laser scanning microscope for image based point of care diagnostics

Ramachandraiah, H., Amasia, M., Cole, J., Sheard, P., Pickhaver, S., Walker, C., Wirta, V., Lexow, P., Lione R., and Russom, A.

Lab on a Chip, online 4 February 2013

Read the scientific article

Link to Nature Photonics News and Views

The Science for Life Laboratory is a joint effort between four Swedish universities, Karolinska Institute, The Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm University and Uppsala University. The centre combines advanced technology with a broad knowledge in translational medicine and molecular biosciences. SciLifeLab is a new national strategic investment in life science research that demands large-scale and specialized infrastructure. SciLifeLab has the goal to become one of the leading research centres in the world within the areas of Health and Environment.


Last updated: 2013-04-02

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