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Toray Industries, Inc. announced the creation of a biochip that will screen for reactions to up to 100 compounds with a single drop of blood. Even a small volume of blood can be measured with high precision using dialysis technologies developed with artificial kidneys. We intend to conduct large-scale verification using samples obtained from allergic patients in the future, with the aim of applying for manufacturing and marketing clearance as an in-vitro diagnostic drug by the end of 2022.
Allergy tests normally assess the amount of IgE antibodies in the blood, which bind directly to the allergen that induces allergic symptoms. However, since blood often comprises other components such as cells and proteins, measuring IgE with a limited volume of blood was difficult. Collecting a large volume of blood is a challenge, particularly for children who attend allergy testing often, and an allergy test with a small amount of blood has been desired.
To solve this issue, Toray used “low fouling polymer material technology” developed for the construction of artificial kidneys for hemodialysis patients. High-precision scanning of 20 microliters of blood was made possible by stopping blood components that conflict with IgE detection from adhering to the surface of the biochip. Furthermore, using technologies for shaping fine columnar structures, we were able to fit up to 100 different allergens onto a single biochip.
Biochip plans to file for production and marketing certification as an in-vitro diagnostic drug by the end of 2022. Around 2030, annual sales of tens of billions of yen are anticipated. Toray is now working on a cancer screening kit that only needs a limited volume of blood, which is speeding up the use of material science in healthcare.