In general, any existing immuno-based cell biomarker detection desired for on-orbit research and development could be accomplished with the SCAN tool. The SCAN tool offers the ability to quantify differences between samples in the concentrations of cells presenting specific biomarkers. For example, it could be used to detect concentrations of differentiated adult stem cells over time using cell biomarkers (on cells cultured on beads or in suspension). It could also be used detect cell viability during on-orbit drug transfection and toxicity testing. In addition it may be possible to use the SCAN tool for enrichment purposes by capturing and releasing cells with specific biomarkers. Unlike methods such as qPCR, immunohistochemistry or ELISA requiring disruption of cells by lysis and fixation, the SCAN tool operation offers detection of biomarkers without cell disruption. SCAN tool is conducive to on-orbit operations because it requires minimal crew time and expertise, and small sample size.
Besides NASA's on-orbit application, the SCAN tool could be used by biotech and medical industries to perform non disruptive immuno-based cell biomarker detection, similar to that done by flow cytometry. In general, any existing immuno-based cell biomarker detection required for research and development, could potentially be accomplished with our proposed approach which offers compact size, low power consumption, low cost, and full automation. The required modification for each new application would be development and verification of surface chemistry for different biomarkers. Advancement of the SCAN tool to additional cell types could potentially reach into the flow cytometry market. We believe we could offer significant cost savings: given that this is a cartridge-based system, mass-production of these cartridges (after initial development of the surface chemistry) could bring costs to as little as $10 per test, compared with approximately $250 per test for flow cytometry. The SCAN tool would be particularly suited as a tool for increasing efficiency of biomarker detection in a research lab where, rapid accurate diagnosis is highly desirable, as are, portability, ruggedness and containment, all of which are also required features of the SCAN tool.