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Biosens Bioelectron. 2007 Feb 15;22(7):1197-204. Epub 2006 Jul 20.

Bead-based microfluidic immunoassays: the next generation.

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  • 1Division of Bioengineering, Faculty of Engineering, Blk, EA-03-12, National University of Singapore, 9 Engineering Drive 1, Singapore 117576, Singapore.


Microfluidic devices possess many advantages like high throughput, short analysis time, small volume and high sensitivity that fulfill all the important criteria of an immunoassay used for clinical diagnoses, environmental analyses and biochemical studies. These devices can be made from a few different materials, with polymers presently emerging as the most popular choice. Other than being optically clear, non-toxic and cheap, polymers can also be easily fabricated with a variety of techniques. In addition, there are many polymer surface modification methods available to improve the efficiency of these devices. Unfortunately, current microfluidic immunoassays have limited multiplexing capability compared to flow cytometric assays. Flow cytometry employ the use of encoded microbeads in contrast with normal or paramagnetic microbeads applied in current microfluidic devices. The encoded microbead is the key in providing multiplexing capability to the assay by allowing multi-analyte analysis. Using several unique sets of code, different analytes can be detected in a single assay by tracing the identity of individual beads. The same principle could be applied to microfluidic immunoassays in order to retain all the advantages of a fluidic device and significantly improve multiplexing capability.

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