Isolation, amplification, and detection of DNA and RNA sequences in “molecular diagnostic” devices is at the forefront of modern diagnostic medicine. Such technologies offer unprecedented sensitivity and specificity in the detection of biomarkers for infectious disease, cancer, and other chronic illnesses. These devices are typically very expensive, large, and require a modern laboratory and trained technicians to operate. These limitations severely restrict the use of molecular diagnostic tools in the developing world.
DFA is building on our ability to perform autonomous fluid operations such as filtration, mixing, splitting, capture, and wash on paper-based microfluidic devices to enable access to molecular diagnostic technology on an extremely inexpensive, disposable device platform. We believe our approach represents a fundamental shift in the field of nucleic acid detection and will significantly increase diagnostic capability in the developing world.
DFA is currently developing a nucleic acid amplification-based paper-microfluidic device for early infant diagnosis of HIV under a Saving Lives at Birth grant. Prior platform development included a DARPA-funded effort to identify E. coli and a DTRA-funded effort with Harvard University focused on Brucella abortus. DFA is also pursuing opportunities to develop a disposable diagnostic kit to identify Ebola in the earliest stages of infection and another kit to identify Hepatitis C which currently affects 150 million people globally.