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Disposable cassette to purify nucleic acids from biological samples for point-of-care diagnostics


Brief Description: Isothermal nucleic acid amplification reactor with integrated solid state membrane




Researchers in the Bau lab have developed a disposable microfluidic cassette with an integrated porous extraction flow-through membrane for purifying and concentrating nucleic acids from biological samples.  The membrane allows decoupling the sample volume from the reaction volume, enabling relatively large samples to achieve high sensitivity, much greater than is typical for point of care devices. The purification step ensures that inhibitors that could interfere with nucleic acid amplification are removed from the sample.  An external filament allows for temperature control of the isothermal LAMP-based (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) reaction.  Products can be detected by monitoring the reaction in real-time with a portable fluorescent reader, a smartphone camera, or visually when a colorimetric dye is used.  The utility of the device has been demonstrated by detecting the presence of HIV-1 in oral fluids with a limit of detection of 10 HIV particles.


From Liu et al, 2011.  In (A), a photograph of the single-chamber microfluidic cassette with an integrated membrane.  In (B), the cassette holder is equipped with a thin film heater, a thermocouple, and a seat for the detector.  The fluorescent signal is excited and detected with the portable ESE optical detector in the inset.



·         High detection sensitivity

·         Decoupling sample volume from reaction volume

·         Portable, cost-effective device

·         Readily adaptable to purify nucleic acids from pathogens in food, water, and bodily fluids

·         Streamlined identification of genetic identity

·         Integration of LAMP with sample-to-assay device

·         Rapid detection of reaction products without need for thermocycler or expensive lab equipment



·         Point-of-care diagnostics

·         Environmental sample testing to monitor level of pathogens in food and water supplies

·         Monitor level of infection in individuals



Stage of Development:

·         Proof-of-concept testing with HIV detection in non-clinical samples; prototype constructed


Intellectual Property:

USSN 9,476,102


Reference Media:

Liu C. et al.  Analyst, 2011, 136(10), p. 2069-2076.

Shih-Chuan L. et al.  Sensors and Actuators B, 2016, 229, p. 232-238.

Song, J. et al.  Analytical Chemistry, 2016, 88(14), p. 7289–7294.


Desired Partnerships:

1.    License

2.    Co-development


Docket#: X5677


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Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Joshua Jeanson
Associate Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania
Haim Bau