Dr Sara Baratchi, said it also had promising applications for early diagnosis of diseases at home or in the doctor's surgery. Pumps are used to make biological samples flow through microfluidic devices while their contents are identified beneath a microscope. The balloon pump was tested as a point-of-care diagnostic device for detection of very low concentrations of target cancer cells in liquid samples, and found to work. Dr Baratchi is now working on applying the simplified pump technology to develop ‘organ-on-chip' systems that mimic the flow conditions in dysfunctional vessels, to better understand diseases like atherosclerosis that lead to heart attack and stroke.
ARC-supported researchers at RMIT University, in collaboration with the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, have developed a simple pressure pump, made from balloons and nylon stockings, that will allow more people in sometimes remote and often complex environments to easily test water contaminants and blood samples. The ingenious device cost just $2.00 to make, yet works almost as well as its expensive and cumbersome lab counterparts. ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) recipient, RMIT biologist DIY PRESSURE PUMP BREAKS DOWN TECHNOLOGY BARRIER
RESEARCHERS SAY THE DEVICE ADDRESSES AN URGENT NEED FOR FIELD-BASED, LOW-COST DIAGNOSTIC TOOLS THAT WORK IN CHALLENGING ENVIRONMENTS, THAT ARE VERY DIFFERENT FROM A PRISTINE LABORATORY.
The three researchers who designed the pump: Dr Sarah Baratchi, Dr Peter Thurgood and Dr Khashayar Khoshmanesh. Credit: RMIT University.
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