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Novel droplet platforms for the detection of disease biomarkers.

ABSTRACT

Personalized medicine - healthcare based on individual genetic variation - has the potential to transform the way healthcare is delivered to patients. The promise of personalized medicine has been predicated on the predictive and diagnostic power of genomic and proteomic biomarkers. Biomarker screening may help improve health outcomes, for example, by identifying individuals' susceptibility to diseases and predicting how patients will respond to drugs. Microfluidic droplet technology offers an exciting opportunity to revolutionize the accessibility of personalized medicine. A framework for the role of droplet microfluidics in biomarker detection can be based on two main themes. Emulsion-based microdroplet platforms can provide new ways to measure and detect biomolecules. In addition, microdroplet platforms facilitate high-throughput screening of biomarkers. Meanwhile, surface-based droplet platforms provide an opportunity to develop miniaturized diagnostic systems. These platforms may function as portable benchtop environments that dramatically shorten the transition of a benchtop assay into a point-of-care format.