A highly unique medical device has been introduced at Vanderbilt University is not quite as cool as a lab on a chip, but it's close.
It has a Schwarzenegger-like name, i.e;"The Extractionator". An external permanent magnet – the silver cube – pulls specially coated magnetic beads through a series of chambers to purify and filter a biological sample.
It is actually a small tabletop machine fitted with a disposable cassette made of a single coiled plastic tube filled with specially coated magnetic beads that are passed through a series of chambers to purify and filter a biological sample. The hope is that the device could be used as a low-cost medical diagnostic system in remote, poor areas.
Objectives at RSV and malaria
The device specifically aims at respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and malaria. Both can be particularly devastating to young children in much of Africa, such as tribal areas along the Angola and Namibia border that lack trained medical personnel, medical equipment, electricity or even clean water.
The device was developed under the Grand Challenges in Global Health initiative funded by a $1 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Extractionator functions without highly trained technicians, sophisticated medical equipment, electricity or water.
Leaders of the Vanderbilt team are Rick Haselton, professor of biomedical engineering; David Wright, associate professor of chemistry; and Ray Mernaugh, associate professor of biochemistry.
"In our knowledge there is no other point-of-care extraction device that has the same level of simplicity, convenience, low cost and ease-of-use," says Haselton.