Nederlandse Vereniging voor Klinische Chemie en Laboratoriumgeneeskunde
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Project 48 Sperm Analyzer using Electrical Conductivity in a Lab-on-a-Chip 'SPERMCHIP'
Onderzoekslijn Lab-on-a-Chip
Omschrijving It is estimated that for about 15% of the couples with a child-whish, a pregnancy for longer than 1 year fails to occur. Such couples are considered to be sub-fertile. In most cases these couples later still become pregnant by a spontaneous pregnancy. However, 4% of the couples stay unwanted childless.
There exists a distinct relation between the seriousness of the sub-fertility and abnormalities in the sperm. In general it can be stated that the chance on a spontaneous pregnancy decreases with a lower concentration, a lower motility and more discrepancies from a normal morphology of the sperm. In order to examine the quality of a men?s sperm a number of standard tests are carried out in the clinical laboratory of a hospital. For these tests expensive, bulky and not very reliable laboratory equipment is commercially available, resulting in expensive, labour-intensive and time consuming test procedures. For example, in the MST laboratory in Enschede only 6 tests per day can be performed.
An additional and very important issue is the fact that the patient has to collect his sperm in a special container at home and has to deliver this within one hour at the hospital laboratory for examination. It can easily be understood that this procedure is far from ideal from the patient?s point of view.

For these reasons there is a strong demand for a small, easy to use and portable instrument that can perform the necessary tests. With such a portable instrument an objective and fast analysis is possible. Evenly important is the fact that with such an instrument the patient can perform these tests at home in a familiar environment.

The proposed instrument can consist of a basic measuring apparatus with disposable chips to perform the tests. Analysis data of the patient?s sperm will be stored in the instrument at regular intervals and timing. After one month, the complete instrument is returned to the hospital where the stored data can be downloaded in a PC and examined by skilled medical personnel. With such a sperm-analysis instrument, more and more reliable data can be obtained requiring far less analysis effort at the hospital laboratory. The instrument will enable "Point-of-care" monitoring of patients, which may eventually lead to Internet-based systems, thereby improving their quality of life and reducing healthcare expenses. Considering all the advantages mentioned above it is clear that there is a large potential market for these systems. If successful, it is obvious that the Dutch population will profit from this project.

In the research described in this proposal, we aim to develop such a sperm-analysis home-instrument based on recently developed lab-on-a-chip devices in the BIOS/Lab-on-a-Chip Group, headed by Albert van den Berg, of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology.
Projectleider Prof.dr. I.(Istvan) Vermes
Instituut Medlon BV Enschede
Trefwoorden Sperm motility, electrical conductivity, sperm analyzer, Sperm motility, µTAS
Status Lopend
Periode 1-2003 - 1-2007
Partners A. van den Berg, BIOS, University of Twente
Medewerkers dr. ir. A.J. Sprenkels, University of Twente
Drs. G. van der Sluijs Veer, klinisch chemicus MST
dr. G.J.E. Oosterhuis, gynaecoloog MST
Financiering 1e Geldstroom - Intern