Health

The microchip that can predict your future

Published 10:42 AM ET, Tue April 26, 2016
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Professor Chris Toumazou pioneered a wave of multidisciplinary study and discovery within electronics, biology, genetics and health care -- including his "lab-on-a-chip," pictured. Chris Linton/DNAe
Consisting of a specially designed silicon microchip attached to a USB stick, this "lab-on-a-chip" can perform a DNA test in under 30 minutes and for as little as $20. Pictured, Toumazou holding a microchip at Imperial College, London. CNN
Toumazou left school at the age of 16 with few academic qualifications to his name. He had never seen the inside of a lab, yet that hasn't prevented him racking up a remarkable record of innovation in the period since.
Each lab-on-a-chip is primed with genetic sequences found in people predisposed to certain diseases, or illnesses, ready to identify if someone carries the genes involved. Tests using the chip can be undertaken at a clinic, a patient's home, or in remote locations far from medical facilities. CNN
Toumazou is also behind the "Sensium" pad, pictured, which enables doctors to measure patient vitals like breathing, body temperature and ECG signals from afar. Courtesy DNAE
At the age of 33, Toumazou became the youngest professor ever to be appointed at Imperial College, in 1994. Nearly 20 years later, during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2013, he was appointed Regius Professor of Engineering. Courtesy DNAE
Toumazou's microchip technology has the potential to reveal a person's predisposition to a variety of hereditary diseases, including type two diabetes. Pictured, a patient with diabetes monitors his blood glucose with a glucometer. ELMER MARTINEZ/AFP/Getty
The chip can also recognize the presence of genes linked to cardiovascular disease. While uncovering a predisposition doesn't mean an individual is guaranteed to contract an illness, it does provide knowledge that enables them to enact change in their lifestyle and minimize future risks PHILIPPE HUGUEN/AFP/Getty
The technology can also be used to ascertain what drugs an individual is most responsive to, or incompatible with, as well as the dosage required. shutterstock
Plans are afoot for a further lab-on-a-chip venture that will seek to give consumers detailed information on the most compatible food and lifestyle products they for their body, based on an analysis of their DNA. Getty Images