Microfluidic Detection of Oral Bacteria Using DNA Probes

Period of Performance: 09/01/2000 - 08/31/2001


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Saigene Corporation
220 West Harrison St.
Seattle, WA 98119
Principal Investigator


The overall goal of this project is to design a new method for analyzing plaque samples for the presence of certain bacterial species associated with periodontitis which can aid in the management and treatment of periodontal disease and may improve treatment outcome. The use of DNA probes offers unparalleled specificity but technical requirements have as yet brought DNA probes to the dental practitioner. A new technology based on microfluidics offers the ability to design easy-to-use DNA probe-based assays that can yield a result in minutes. In this application, a microfluidic DNA probe assay for Porphyromonas gingivalis and Bacteroides forsythus, two important organisms in the pathogenisis of periodontal disease, will be designed and tested. The microfluidic device consists of a small laminate cartridge consisting of various channels and input ports. Sample lysates and labeled DNA probes are pumped through the microfluidic chamber. Results are read and analyzed within minutes. Several DNA probes can be run simultaneously in a single sample which is important for peridontal disease which may involve multiple batcerial species. The reagents will be simple and stable and cost a few dollars per assay. The use of microfluidics automates and simplifies DNA analysis of patient samples. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: The technology will be useful to dental practitioners for determining the presence of certain oral pathogens directly in patient samples. This test will be easy-to-use and will yield a result within minutes of sample collection while the patient is still in the chair. The information gained by this rapid assay will be useful in assessing initial conditions of the patient, monitoring treatment efficacy, and assessing risk of future problems.