Transfusion medicine

The researches find that the The effectiveness of current anti-clotting medication can be limited due to the risk of complications driving a need for alternatives that can both prevent the formation of blood clots and reduce the risk of excessive and life threatening bleeding. The new biocompatible lab-on-a-chip; detailed in a paper published recently in the journal  Analytical Chemistry, could help accelerate the discovery and development of new anti-clotting therapies.

Formation of blood clots

The technology has been develop by a team of biochemists and engineers led by RMIT University and the Haematology Micro-platforms group at the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases (ACBD) in Melbourne; Australia. It effectively shrinks a medical pathology laboratory onto a small chip; with automated processes that can achieve in a few minutes what could take days in a full-sized lab. The new device is design specifically to work with the complex and sensitive biology of blood; featuring a unique system of micropumps and analysis tools for testing the effect of chemical compounds on how the blood clots.

Lead investigator Dr Warwick Nesbitt; RMIT and Monash University, is working with collaborators at the ACBD to use the pioneering device to better understand clotting mechanisms and develop new anti-clotting drugs. Nesbitt said very few microdevices developed to date were suitable for clinical or research use; because they had not been drive by insight into how blood actually behaves. Therefore “It’s a key step towards the development of quick and efficient microsystems for pre-clinical and clinical haematology screening and diagnostics.”

Very few microdevices developed

“Blood is extremely sensitive to artificial surfaces and clots very easily; so blood-handling technologies must be equally sensitive,” Nesbitt, a Vice-Chancellor’s Senior Research Fellow at RMIT and group leader at ACBD; said. Because “They are combined a deep understanding of the biology of blood with precision microfabrication engineering and design; to deliver a device that can work with whole blood and produce reliable results. “They hope this powerful new tool will give researchers an edge in delivering better and safer anti-clotting treatments; to improve the health and wellbeing of millions around the world.”

Co-lead author Dr Crispin Szydzik said the device could mimic conditions within blood vessels. The microlab can screen hundreds of drug compounds in just a few hours; revealing their effect on blood and quickly identifying those that have the most potential for clinical use. But The device is based on microfluidic chip technology developed at RMIT’s Micro Nano Research Facility (MNRF) and within the Vascular Biology Laboratory (ACBD – Monash University). Because A microfluidic chip contains an array of miniature channels; but valves, processors and pumps that can precisely and flexibly manipulate fluids.