Thursday, November 16, 2006

BioPen



BioPen Senses BioThreats



Bioluminescent fiber-optic bio-reporter biosensor to environmental toxicant
Bioluminescent fiber-optic bio-reporter biosensor to environmental toxicant

A novel pen-like device, capable of rapidly detecting biowarfare agents on the battlefield, is being developed by a team of Israeli scientists at Ben Gurion University in the Negev. The BioPen or "Lab-in-a-Pen", as it has also been dubbed, could be used additionally as a point-of-care test tool for examining patients and to assist in the accurate, rapid, and on-the-spot diagnosis of a variety of diseases.


Image of BioPen concept CAD (computer aided design)
Image of BioPen concept CAD (computer aided design)

The BioPen has been designed to help soldiers on the battlefield determine whether they have been exposed to dangerous biological agents in under 20 minutes. The novel diagnostic device – equipped with a small LCD screen – is user-friendly, does not require the user to have any preliminary training, and is self-sufficient. In addition, it can be used to check whether water is drinkable, to detect environmental toxins, and to diagnose various common infections such as Hepatitis B and C, and even several types of cancer, more accurately and efficiently than tests currently in use. This amazing feat is achieved by a special method devised by the Ben Gurion University team for antigen detection, which is an adaptation of the widely employed Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA).