This series will focus on integration of an assay from standard laboratory ware, e.g. a microtiter plate, and ‘porting’ it into a microfluidic cartridge. The assay protocol will be managed through an instrument interface, usually a small benchtop or handheld product. To develop a design concept for the overall cartridge, the assay workflow integration needs to be addressed in a step-wise fashion. Whether the assay protocol is a sandwich immune assays, PCR, and cell-based assays, the same considerations apply in the design development. The objective is to create a set of cartridge specifications that will enable design for manufacture while delivering on the required limit of detection and sensitivity with the lowest variability possible (usually 10 – 20%).
The development process for microfluidics products is especially complex because the biological components have been optimized to perform in standard lab ware, and will need to be re-optimized for a microfluidic device.
Part of the challenge is to organize the development in a logical sequence, with a focus on resolving big risk areas first. It helps a lot to look at the effort from the view point of the desired end result – what do you want this system to do and with what level of accuracy and precision? What’s good enough vs. what exactly mimics what is currently done in the lab with high quality analytical instrumentation.
To help folks who are simply interested in becoming users of microfluidics, yet are in faced with developing a protocol for a microfluidic cartridge, a four part series is presented here that captures the things one should consider before picking up the phone and talking to any of a number of service providers. The content is broken down into the following outline:
1) Start at the end.
2) Think modularly.
3) How will I know if I’m getting good results?
4) The Integration Challenge
Click to read the article -> Part 1 – START AT THE END