Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) has developed a new miniaturized bioassay that will be faster, cheaper and more efficient for scientists to use

Singapore's Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) has developed a new miniaturized bioassay that will be faster, cheaper and more efficient for scientists to use. The new assay, named DropArray, slashes the time needed to run certain lab tests by over 60 per cent and reduces consumable costs by nearly 90 per cent, while maintaining the same level of flexibility and convenience as conventional platforms.

IBN's DropArray represents a unique integration of surface chemistry and microfluidics designed to reduce the amount of material and reagent required by up to 1,000 times, while simultaneously cutting the reaction time by up to 10 folds, making it faster and cheaper than standard bioassays.

Each DropArray chip comprises a small (1 inch by 3 inch) flat rectangular patterned glass slide, with hundreds or thousands of hydrophilic glass "wells" surrounded by a hydrophobic coating. These chips can be used for common laboratory processes such as the heterogeneous bioassay, which is typically used by scientists in diagnostic tests to determine how a blood sample interacts with various other substances. The "wells" act as small test tubes in which the reagents are added, mixed and incubated, and a bench-top station automatically completes the rinsing process in heterogeneous bioassay.

IBN's DropArray is able to miniaturize bioassays from 50-100 microliters down to 100 nanoliters, making it possible for researchers to conduct various cell-based tests including cancer stem cell immunoassays that had previously been extremely challenging with conventional technology.

Furthermore, the reduction in the volume of samples and reagents required provides similar advantages for protein-based assays such as ELISA with limited human and animal serum such as Human Leptin and Endostatin assays.

Nanostart AG, the German-based world's leading nanotechnology investment company, has invested in Curiox Biosystems, which will further develop and commercialize the DropArray technology.