Bead-Based Flow Systems: From Centralized Laboratories to Genetic Testing in the Field
This chapter explains the concept and actual embodiment of a genetic testing system. It focuses on systems that can translate from a high-throughput centralized testing laboratory to a decentralized clinic or bedside, and eventually into nonclinical operational environments. The premise of a bead-based genetic testing system is a natural flow from low pressure liquid chromatography and flow injection analysis (FIA), techniques that for the most part were developed and are used primarily for chemical separations and sensing. FIA considers an injected sample or reagent as a discrete reaction zone that can be transported, manipulated, and/or analyzed in continuous fashion. Functionalized magnetic particles are used extensively for chemical, nucleic acid, protein, organelle and whole-cell isolation and analysis. Conventional bio-magnetic separation techniques rely on wall concentration with external magnets to pull paramagnetic particles to the side of a tube so that buffers can be aspirated and exchanged via a manual or robotic pipette.