Microfluidic technology, also commonly referred to as “lab-on-chip” or “micrototal analysis”, deals with the study of flow of liquids through microscopic channels, involves the design, manufacture, and formulation of devices and processes dealing with extremely low volume of fluids. While microfluidic devices are known to have a wide range of applications – printing, pneumatics, and chemical process engineering – it’s recent market surge in medical technology could be attributed to improving tech and a large aging population in the US. According to a recent article in the Digital Journal, the microfluidics market size is forecasted to reach $10 billion by 2024 (Grand View Research, 2016).
In our research on the microfluidics market and its many applications, we came across interesting updates in what these devices are being used for. Most recently, Novocure announced that two of its independent institutions had published research on tumor treating fields (TTFileds) in a September interview with Yahoo News. “Based on the growing interest in TTFields, we decided to develop a microfluidic system that can be used to rapidly screen the effect of this emerging modality on both cancer and normal cells within an in vivo like microenvironment,” said Dr. Andrea Pavesi, research scientist from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART). Using the device, they plan to selectively target cancerous cells while reducing the effects on endothelial cells; thus improving cancer treatment to make it easier on those currently not healthy enough to bear traditional treatment methods.
Being able to conduct our research on the field for companies who utilize microfluidic devices allows us to consistently hone our own knowledge and understanding of this growing market. With the enhancement of medical technology using microfluidics, we’re interested to see how this all contributes to finding more effective cures for some of today’s most abrasive ailments.