Advancing Personalized Medicine with Microfluidic Technology

Advancing Personalized Medicine with Microfluidic Technology

Micronit has been at the forefront of personalized medicine for years. Recently our efforts in this area were given additional relevance by international research supervised by LUMC (Leids Universitair Medisch Centrum) in The Netherlands.

The research results as published in The Lancet show that personalized medicine can significantly reduce complications suffered by patients. The researchers concluded that severe side effects are 30% less with patients whose medication dosage is tailored to their DNA. Up until now, it has never been proven on a large clinical base that DNA profiles actually work.

From Predictive to Personalized: the 4P strategy

Over the past years strong developments in different technology areas have enabled an important transition in terms of the way healthcare is delivered to the public. The dominant strategy nowadays is 4P medicine, in which the P’s stand for Predictive, Preventive, Participatory and Personalized. Basically, 4P medicine means that everything is focused on the individual. Instead of merely diagnosing and reacting to symptoms, medicine is now active in earlier stages, trying to predict whether a person is prone to get a certain disease and how they will react to specific drugs. The best known example can be found in cancer therapy, where there is a very clear trend in personalized treatment. From chemo treatments that kill all sorts of cells without distinction – good ones as well as bad ones – we are moving to engineered therapies that are really targeted to specific patients, so we can minimize side effects and maximize efficacy.

The need for easy to use tests

The implementation of 4P entails a lot more testing than in the old days, also involving many people who don’t have symptoms or are not even sick. This new reality requires more than excellent test sensitivity and performance. People also need to be able to run these tests outside the laboratories where they were traditionally carried out. Besides personalization there is a very strong global trend to decentralize diagnostics. Testing is no longer limited to labs and their specialized personnel, but is now taking place in all sorts of environments, such as clinics, general practitioner offices and even peoples’ homes. End users in such environments need to be able to run these tests without extensive training, hence, tests need to be easy to use, robust and reliable, minimally invasive and portable. This is where Micronit’s technology comes into play.

An end-to-end solution

We are a globally acknowledge expert in developing and manufacturing next-generation microfluidic consumables (also known as lab-on-a-chip consumables) for diagnostics, pharma and life science applications. As microfluidics specialists, we miniaturize and integrate components, materials and functions. Our aim is to create devices or consumables that allow automated workflows which eliminate lots of manual handling and can be carried out in decentralized locations by almost anyone. By working with partners for specific technology – such as volume injection moulded parts or sensors – we are able to offer an end-to-end solution, from the conceptual phase all the way to mass manufacturing. Our customers have only one supplier to talk to and help them find the solution they need.

Impact matters

In the market, Micronit stands out by combining technological expertise and understanding of the application. Our approach allows us to accelerate the transition towards personalized medicine, which is now happening in healthcare. On a corporate level, maximizing societal impact is a driver of Micronit’s strategy – which is why we focus on the medical market. It may not be the easiest market, as it is heavily regulated and commercialization of a new medical product might take years. Nevertheless, we see it as a mission  to provide tools that can serve to improve the quality of life of single individuals, groups of individuals or entire populations, while in the process even decreasing the likelihood that they would get sick. That is what we call impact.

A two-way street

All things considered, we are in a two-way street. On one hand the healthcare world determines the directions that technology takes. On the other, by being pushed to the limit, technology feeds back and enables new things to happen in healthcare. That is where Micronit aims to make a difference, by helping to successfully bring lifechanging products to the market.

About Monica Brivio

Monica Brivio has more than twenty years of experience in the field of microfluidics, both in academia and industry and always at the interface between microfluidic technology on one hand and diagnostics and life science applications on the other.