$20 reusable chip detects type-1 diabetes quickly and cheaply

Researchers from Stanford University have developed a microchip that could make it much less costly to diagnose type-1 diabetes. The debilitating disease often strikes children, and the quicker it's detected, the easier it is to treat. The current test, however, is a time-consuming, costly burden for both hospitals and patients, requiring radioactive materials and several days of time. The new chip uses gold nanoparticles that cause fluorescent materials to glow when telltale antibodies are detected. Unlike the old tests, only a pinprick of blood is required, and the $20 chip can be reused up to 15 times. Such diagnostics could compliment other diabetes research, like Google's glucose detecting smart contacts, along with potential treatments or even cures. Researchers said the test will be particularly useful in countries where the standard test is too expensive, and are now working to launch it globally.

[Image credit: Stanford University/Norbert von der Groeben]