An University of California Los Angeles’ team of chemists, biologists and engineers has developed a funky lab-in-a-chip capable of performing 1,024 chemical reactions in parallel. Using microfluidics, the system may dramatically accelerate drug development for cancer and other diseases:
The precious enzyme molecules required for a single in situ click reaction in a traditional lab now can be split into hundreds of duplicates for performing hundreds of reactions in parallel, thus revolutionizing the laboratory process, reducing reagent consumption and accelerating the process for identifying potential drug candidates
The UCLA scientists think that their new invention can revolutionize chemistry laboratories, and drug development, since their chip is capable of performing more than a thousand simultaneous chemical reactions in seconds, processes that take insane amounts of time to do using traditional lab bench material.
The “integrated microfluidic device for large-scale in situ click chemistry screening” works by funneling the chemical matter through micro-channels etched in the chip. It works at the molecular level, so even while the reactions are the same that boffins get with traditional lab tools, the liquid quantities are so small that the eye can’t actually see them. The results of these combinations are then analyzed manually using a mass spectrometer, a part of the process that the team expects to automate in the future.