HemeChip for Early Diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease in Newborns

Alapan, Yunus ;   Ung, Ryan ;   Romelfanger, Megan ;   Piccone, Connie ;   Little, Jane ;   Gurkan, Umut A.

More than 800 children are born with Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) every day in Africa, and more than half of them die in childhood due to lack of diagnosis and early treatment. In the US, hemoglobin screening of newborns is mandated for early diagnosis, which has dramatically reduced mortality. However, this strategy has not been widely available in resource limited countries. Common screening methods are electrophoresis and high performance liquid chromatography. In Africa, hemoglobin screening can take 2-4 weeks which can only be performed in central laboratories. This delay may be life-threatening as contact with families may be impossible after they leave the hospital. There is a need for simple, rapid, and mobile hemoglobin screening in newborns with which to diagnose hemoglobinopathies while the baby is still on-site. We present a point-of-care microchip (HemeChip) for early diagnosis of sickle cell disease in resource limited settings. HemeChip can identify hemoglobin type in a drop of blood which can be used to diagnose and initiate early management of Sickle Cell Disease and other hemoglobinopathies in newborns.