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3D-printed microRNA miroculus detects cancers with a single blood test
Posted by 3DP4E

By Staff | 3ders

About 8 million people die of cancer every year worldwide. The death toll could rise about 80% by 2030, according to the World Health Organization. But the problem is, symptoms may only be noticed when the cancerous tumour has become quite large, which is simply too late.

Imagine a simple blood test that can tell you, at the molecular level, the exact type of disease you have and its severity before presenting any symptoms. Imagine using the same test to monitor the success of the treatment.

Biotech company Miroculus has created a 3D-printed microRNA 'miroculus' that could detects and monitor disease at the molecular level.

The company wants to bring an accurate, easy to use, non-invasive and affordable microRNA detection platform for healthcare providers to diagnose and treat disease. It allows them to provide a single cancer test even if the patient is not presenting symptoms yet.

They do it by detecting, through an enzymatic approach, a set of very small molecules called microRNAs that circulate freely in our blood and act as a type of biological warning sign. Using their patented biochemistry, they have designed and developed a low-cost 3D printed device and data analysis algorithms which can reveal not just what type of cancer a person may have, but how severe it is.

Miroculus detects and monitors disease in 3 steps:

1. Extract the total RNA from the patient's blood sample and pipette it in a standard 96 well plate

Each well of this plate has been treated with Miroculus' patented biochemistry to look for a specific microRNA. This biochemistry acts like a trap that closes only when the microRNA is present in the sample. Whenever a trap closes it will shine with green color.

2. Prepare and load the 96 well plate in the 3D printed device

After the wells are full, the plate goes into the device, and the reaction runs for approximately 60 minutes. When microRNA is present, the wells start to shine. By analyzes how much and how fast they shine, they can tell which microRNAs are present in the sample and whether they are over-regulated or down-regulated. The results are then sent to a cloud server.

3. Login to visualize patient's results.

The gathering and mining of data in the cloud lets allows you to perform analytics along other contextual information. Miroculus' data analysis platform lets you visualize trends and correlations over time, stratify patients, view results in real time.

With only need 1 milliliter of blood and a relatively simple array of tools, diseases such as cancer can be caught early.

Currently the 3D-printed microRNA miroculus is still at the very early stages but the results have been very promising. It has successfully tested in California, Germany and Mexico.


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Posted on September 10, 2014

By Scott J. Grunewald | 3D Printing Industry