Researchers at MIT and National Chiao Tung University have designed a graphene oxide-based system that could make it possible to capture and analyze individual cells from a small sample of blood, potentially leading to very low-cost diagnostic systems that could be used almost anywhere.
The new system, based on specially treated sheets of graphene oxide. The team explains that the key to the new process is heating the graphene oxide at relatively mild temperatures. This low-temperature annealing makes it possible to bond particular compounds to the material's surface. These compounds in turn select and bond with specific molecules of interest, including DNA and proteins, or even whole cells. Once captured, those molecules or cells can then be subjected to a variety of tests.