Microfluidic arrays for multiplex detection of analyts
This invention is a microfluidic array apparatus and a method of performing multiple analyses on multiple samples simultaneously, utilizing nanoliter volumes of reagents. It has two embodiments, the first consists of N microfluidic channels, perhaps in a parallel array, in fluidic contact with N' microfluidic channels, perhaps parallel and orthogonal to the N channels, making NxN' contact points where analyses can occur. Contact is controlled by use of membranes, or other dividers, at the contact points so that diffusional mixing predominates and little convectional mixing occurs. One set of channels could consist of N samples (biological, environmental, etc.) and the other set could carry N' reagents (enzymes, antibody conjugates, etc. perhaps in stationary gels) to perform N' analyses on the N samples. The invention is further described in Anal. Chem. 2001, 73, 5207-5213. The second embodiment is an apparatus and method for performing a miniaturized, serially diluted immunoassay for measuring multiple antigens or multiple antibodies in small volumes of liquid in one experiment. Serial dilution of sera, a ubiquitous and tedious procedure, is done automatically by this invention using combinations of microfluidic channels which mix the sera and buffer (utilizing a proprietary mixer, see PCT/US02/23462). The microfluidic channels containing the serially diluted sera are brought into contact with a series of membranes containing antigens that react with the target antibodies. See published PCT application PCT/US02/26459 for further details.
Intellectual Property Status: Patent(s) Pending
This invention could be the basis for low cost bioassays performed in doctor's offices, at home, in the factory and by first responders in emergencies. It can also be used to measure multiple analytes simultaneously for research and in high throughput screening for drug discovery. It can replace serial dilution of biological samples in immunoassays.