Skip to Main Content

Latest News

Advertise Here
July 26, 2011

A Cell Phone Counts Cells

Medical Diagnostics: With a simple attachment, a cell phone can run diagnostic tests for diseases such as cancer

Erika Gebel

Anal. Chem.
MOBILE MEDICINE An attachment clips onto a cell phone to turn it into a medical device.
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Latest News

October 28, 2011

Speedy Homemade-Explosive Detector

Forensic Chemistry: A new method could increase the number of explosives detected by airport screeners.

Solar Panel Makers Cry Foul

Trade: U.S. companies complain of market dumping by China.

Novartis To Cut 2,000 Jobs

Layoffs follow similar moves by Amgen, AstraZeneca.

Nations Break Impasse On Waste

Environment: Ban to halt export of hazardous waste to developing world.

New Leader For Lawrence Livermore

Penrose (Parney) Albright will direct DOE national lab.

Hair Reveals Source Of People's Exposure To Mercury

Toxic Exposure: Mercury isotopes in human hair illuminate dietary and industrial sources.

Why The Long Fat?

Cancer Biochemistry: Mass spectrometry follows the metabolism of very long fatty acids in cancer cells.

Text Size A A

Adding one more function to a growing list of applications for cell phones, researchers have developed a medical device that turns a cell phone into a miniature flow cytometer (Anal. Chem., DOI: 10.1021/ac201587a).

Doctors use flow cytometry to test for diseases including AIDS, cancer, and simple microbial infections. These conditions cause a change in a person's number of white blood cells; a flow cytometer allows doctors to quickly count the cells in a blood sample. Unfortunately, many doctors don't have access to the instruments, because a standard flow cytometer costs between $50,000 and $100,000 and is too bulky to carry to remote areas.

But, says Aydogan Ozcan of the University of California, Los Angeles, "there are 5 billion cell phones in the world." Since they also send and receive data rapidly, they are an attractive platform for developing medical equipment that can go anywhere, he says.

Ozcan and his team built a cell phone attachment from small components, including lenses for magnification, two light-emitting devices as light sources, and a plastic color filter to cut down on ambient light.

To test the device, the researchers added a fluorescent molecule that labels white blood cells to whole blood samples. Then they pumped the blood through a tiny chamber that passes over the cell phone's camera. They exported the resulting movie from the cell phone to a laptop computer that counted the fluorescent cells. The counts were accurate enough to distinguish between healthy and sick patients, Ozcan says. He hopes the attachment will be on the market in a couple of years, selling for less than $50.

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2011 American Chemical Society
  • Print this article
  • Email the editor

Services & Tools

ACS Resources

ACS is the leading employment source for recruiting scientific professionals. ACS Careers and C&EN Classifieds provide employers direct access to scientific talent both in print and online. Jobseekers | Employers

» Join ACS

Join more than 161,000 professionals in the chemical sciences world-wide, as a member of the American Chemical Society.
» Join Now!