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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 106-108  

Lab on a Chip: Conquer disease at the earliest

Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sree Balaji Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Date of Web Publication4-Jun-2018

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Gibson S T Daniel
Department of Oral Medicine and Radiology, Sree Balaji Dental College and Hospital, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600100
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/JPBS.JPBS_210_17

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Oral cancer is the fifth most common cancer in the world, accounting for numerous deaths annually. The 5-year survival rate remains approximately 50% for oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) in the past several decades. Early detection plays a vital role in the survival rate of the patients. There is no accurate, cost-effective, and reliable method for the screening of patients with OSCC. Hence, many patients are diagnosed at advanced stages. Early detection would, therefore, help to identify patients and modify treatment with close monitoring. Lab on a Chip or micro-total-analysis systems are one of the microfluidics technologies that are defined as adaptation, miniaturization, integration, and automation of analytical laboratory procedures into a single device or “chip.” This technology assures the replacement of complicated techniques with miniaturized, integrated, programmed, and economical diagnostic devices. Hence, this system provides a means for rapid, automated, molecular analysis of cancer cells.

Keywords: Diagnostic aids, lab on a chip, microfluidics, oral cancer, oral squamous cell carcinoma

How to cite this article:
Daniel GS, Thiruppathy M, Aswath N, Narayanan SR. Lab on a Chip: Conquer disease at the earliest. J Pharm Bioall Sci 2018;10:106-8

How to cite this URL:
Daniel GS, Thiruppathy M, Aswath N, Narayanan SR. Lab on a Chip: Conquer disease at the earliest. J Pharm Bioall Sci [serial online] 2018 [cited 2022 Oct 2];10:106-8. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Saliva contains a large number of diagnostic substances such as steroid hormones, HIV antibodies, measures therapeutic levels of drugs and the monitoring of illicit drug abuse. Analysis of saliva may be useful for the diagnosis of autoimmune diseases, hereditary disorders, infectious diseases, malignant diseases, and metabolic and endocrine disorders.[1] Saliva-based diagnosis has advanced exponentially over the last decade. The availability of a wide range of molecular components in saliva and noninvasive method of collection has made it feasible to study microbes and chemical and immunological markers. These advancements in technology have helped saliva to move beyond oral health to where it can now be used to assess the overall health.[2]

   Saliva vs. Serum Top

Saliva is gaining importance in recent years and is considered as a diagnostic tool for various reasons. It is identified to be functionally equivalent to that of serum, reflecting the physiological state of the body, including hormonal, emotional, nutritional, and metabolic variations.[3] It is very easy to collect saliva as it is a simple, noninvasive, chairside procedure, which does not require any specialized equipment.[4] It is cost-effective, and it can be used for mass screening. It provides repeated and voluminous sampling in short intervals of time. Considering all these, saliva is identified as an excellent tool in diagnostics.[5]

   Oral Fluid Nanosensor Test Top

Oral fluid nanosensor test (OFNASET) or lab-on-a-chip (LOC) nanotechnology is a microelectromechanical system that is capable of detecting salivary protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA) biomarkers.[5] Microfabrication technology has led to the development of electrochemical biosensors with the capacity for sensitive and marker-specific detection of nucleic acids and proteins. Application of universal molecular analysis for cancer screening helps in the early recognition of cancer, which can significantly reduce the mortality and morbidity associated with cancer.[6],[7] The intended use of the OFNASET is for the detection of salivary biomarkers for oral cancer—two salivary proteomic biomarkers (thioredoxin and interleukin-8 [IL-8]) and four salivary mRNA biomarkers (SAT, ODZ, IL-8, and IL-1b). This electrochemical sensor contains capture and detector probes to target or to bind with antibodies related to cancer antigens. The capture probe anchors the target to the sensor, whereas the detector probe signals the presence of the target through a reporter molecule [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3].
Figure 1: Lab-on-a-chip device

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Figure 2: Detection of a salivary genetic marker by anchor and signal probe

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Figure 3: Oral fluid nanosensor test (OFNASET) cartridge

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   Procedure Top

For each individual sensor of a 16-sensor array chip, 4 µL of the biotinylated antibody (12.5 µg/mL) in 1× phosphate-buffered saline was mixed with the same volume of saliva. The antibody–saliva lysate mixture was applied onto each sensor and incubated for 30min to allow affinity binding of antibody to the analyte in saliva. Measurements were immediately and simultaneously taken for all 16 sensors. The entire assay protocol was completed within 45min from the initiation of saliva mixing.[7]

   Discussion Top

This sensor array chip provides direct electrochemical detection of the cancer markers (RNA and protein) from the saliva associated with oral cancer. The sensor assay system relies on efficient binding of target RNA molecules or proteins onto the sensor surface. The study conducted by Vincent and David[7] has shown excellent results in identifying the markers. However, its usefulness has to be determined in terms of sensitivity, specificity, correlation with established disease diagnostic criteria, and reproducibility.[8]

   Conclusion Top

It is becoming increasingly apparent to investigators and clinicians in a variety of disciplines that saliva has many diagnostic uses and is especially valuable in large-scale screening and epidemiologic studies. LOC can be administered by the patient himself, which offers not only convenience but also more rapid diagnosis.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

   References Top

Devi MKP, Koppal S, Thriveni R, Byatnal A, Patil R, Usha C. Sialochemistry: A key to investigation for oral diagnosis. J Indian Aca Oral Med Radiol 2013;10:121-5.  Back to cited text no. 1
Gokul S. Salivary diagnostics in oral cancer. In: Ogbureke KUE, editor. Oral cancer, ISBN: 978-953-51-0228-1. InTech; 2012. Available from:  Back to cited text no. 2
Vijaylaxmi B, Shrinivas M, Krishna B, Priya H. Saliva: A diagnostic tool. IOSR J Den Med Sci 2013;10:96-9.  Back to cited text no. 3
Sunil R, Nupur A, Mallika K, Abhijeet A. Sialochemistry—an emerging oral diagnostic tool. J Dent Sci Oral Rehabl 2013;10:1-2.  Back to cited text no. 4
Senthamil S, Nithya J. Saliva: A cutting edge in diagnostic procedures. J Oral Dis 2014;10:1-8.  Back to cited text no. 5
Mangala K, Nabikhan A, Ravikumar H. Sialochemistry—a diagnostic tool. Pak Oral Dent J 2012;10:222-5.  Back to cited text no. 6
Vincent G, David W. Oral Fluid Nanosensor Test (OFNASET) with advanced electrochemical-based molecular analysis platform. Ann N Y Acad Sci 2007;10:401-10.  Back to cited text no. 7
Pandya D, Nagarjappa AK, Reddy S, Bhasin M. Lab-on-a-chip— oral cancer diagnosis at your door step. J Int Oral Health 2015;10:122-8.  Back to cited text no. 8


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2], [Figure 3]

This article has been cited by
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