DVD player can double as medical diagnostic instrument

April 11, 2013 at 7:24 PM
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STOCKHOLM, Sweden, April 11 (UPI) -- DVD players, made almost obsolete by USB sticks and video streaming, may have a new life as inexpensive diagnostic instruments, Swedish scientists say.

Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm say the optics in DVD players can be used to create cost-effective and speedy instruments for on-the-spot HIV testing and other analytics.

KTH biotechnology Professor Aman Russom says his research team converted a commercial DVD drive into a laser scanning microscope that can analyze blood and perform cellular imaging, a KTH release reported Thursday.

Such an inexpensive and simple-to-use tool could have far-reaching benefits in healthcare in the developing world, the researcher said.

"With an ordinary DVD player, we have created a cheap analytical tool for DNA, RNA, proteins and even entire cells," Russom said.

The "Lab-on-DVD" technology makes it possible to complete an HIV test in just a few minutes, he said.

Current diagnostic units can cost as much as $30,000, whereas mass-produced Lab-on-DVD units could be made available for less than $200, Russom said.

"The low cost of the technology makes it suitable as a diagnostic and analytical tool in clinical practice close to the patient," Russom he said. "And because it delivers extremely fast analysis, the patient does not need to go home and wait for a response. They can get it right on the first visit to a doctor."

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