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MIT and Leti researchers join efforts to develop a new microchip for fast drug tests

​Drug testing can now be performed in as little as one hour with this highly precise microchip.

Published on 7 February 2017
A paper recently published in Nature Biotechnology introducing a new technique for fast drug tests developed by teams at MIT (headed by Scott Manalis, Professor of Biological and Mechanical Engineering, Leti (headed by Vincent Agache, research scientist in MEMS and µfluidics), as well as other researchers could save precious time for patients awaiting treatment.

This technique paves the way for many applications that measure the sensitivity of biological species (including cells and bacteria) to drugs - such as antibiotics testing. Following this study, a new microchip device was developed by MIT, fabricated by Leti with fast-and-precise measurement of individual cell growth, simultaneously. The microchip not only tracks a cell's dynamic growth when facing environmental changes, but also enables the antibiotics susceptibility testing on a very small amount of bacteria with results being available within one hour - potentially leading to a faster test in the clinic where traditional techniques often require growing a culture of bacteria for at least a day prior to running tests.

While MIT has been implementing the full system, Leti's team worked on the entire fabrication process on an 8-inch wafer scale. In particular, they have optimized the sequence of dopant implantations so that piezo readout sensing could be implemented on each Suspended Microchannel Resonator arranged in an array.

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