Microchip-based point-of-care (POC) technologies to measure HIV-1 viral load information
Utkan Demerci, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology, Harvard University Medical School and MIT
Currently, more than 30 million people are living with HIV-1 worldwide. Based on 2010 WHO guidelines (treatment initiation at CD4 cell count <350 cells/mm3), only approximately 36% AIDS patients are receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) in low- and middle-income countries. The low coverage of ART program is mainly due to the lack of cost-effective diagnostics to monitor CD4 cell count and viral load in AIDS patients in resource-limited settings, despite the fact that first-line ARV drugs become cheaper or even free. To overcome this challenge, we developed microchip-based point-of-care (POC) technologies to count CD4+ T lymphocytes and provide viral load information. On a microchip coated with immobilized antibodies, CD4 T lymphocytes were captured from whole blood and subsequently counted using a lensless image technology. This portable, battery operated, lensless, microchip platform showed significant correlation in CD4 T-cell counts compared with the gold standard, i.e., FACS counts both at BWH in Boston (r: 0.94, p<0.01), and MUHAS in Tanzania (r: 0.49, p<0.01). The device rapidly produced CD4 T-cell counts within 10 minutes using an automated cell counting program. Using a similar microchip platform, HIV was also be captured by immobilized antibody and detected by quantum dot based staining. In conclusion, this microchip platform technology can potentially deliver inexpensive, rapid and simple testing to monitor antiretroviral treatment in resource-limited settings.
Utkan Demirci, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Sciences and Technology at Harvard University Medical School and MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology). Dr. Demirci received his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering in 1999 as a James B. Angell Scholar (Summa Cum Laude) from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He received his M.S. degree in 2001 in Electrical Engineering, M.S. degree in Management Science and Engineering in 2005 and Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering in 2005 all from Stanford University. In 2008, Dr Demirci was given Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School-Young Investigator Award; The Outstanding Young Persons of the World, Junior Chamber International (JCI). In 2006, he was selected to TR-35 as one of the world’s top 35 young innovators under the age of 35 by the MIT Technology Review. Dr. Demirci has published more than 50 peer reviewed journal publications, more than 50 conference proceedings and 10 book chapters. His research interests involve applications of microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) and acoustics in medicine, especially: microfluidics for inexpensive CD4 counts for HIV in resource-limited-settings for global health problems; cell-by-cell 3D tissue printing; high-throughput blood biopreservation; oocyte vitrification. Dr. Demirci leads a group of 30 researchers focusing on nano and Sciences and Technology, Center for Bioengineering, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School.
About the Point-of-Care Diagnostics Idea Lab
The Point-of-Care Diagnostics (POCDx) Idea Lab was created as a forum for graduate students who are working in the areas of medical diagnostics and global health to discuss topics relevant to their research. Students working in the areas of engineering, science, policy, and healthcare are encouraged to attend. The bi-weekly meetings will be informal and will usually include one or two short presentations by graduate students, faculty, or other outside speakers affiliated with POCDx.
This video was originally recorded on April 25th, 2011 in 621 Stanley Hall, UC Berkeley