By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Think about a chemistry lab on a microchip. It exists!

This lab on a chip monitors bacterial growth. The tiny device, which is about the width of a dime, allows semi-continuous growth in six independent reactors. It can be monitored to provide automated real-time measurements of cell density and shape.

Now, there is a more important reason for this than the ‘gee whiz’ factor. Researchers often study single cells to test the effects of drugs. Now, this sort of a micro lab will allow the researchers to evaluate the cells in a live environment. And it gives a 3-d perspective.

It’s fascinating and it will make a difference in research.

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