Blood transfusions save millions of lives every year. Getting the wrong type of blood can be deadly, though.
While the expensive equipment required to differentiate blood type is not available in many poor areas, now a strip of paper costing pennies can be used instead. Learn more about the "dipstick blood test" in ScienceDaily.
For the first time, a team led by Yale University researchers has used nanosensors to measure cancer biomarkers in whole blood. The new device is able to read out biomarker concentrations in a just a few minutes. Extremely small concentrations are being measured, the equivalent of detecting a single grain of salt within a swimming pool size volume of liquid.
"The new device could also be used to test for a wide range of biomarkers at the same time, from ovarian cancer to cardiovascular disease, Reed said. Science Daily.
Authors of the paper, "Label-free biomarker detection from whole blood", include Eric Stern, Aleksandar Vacic, Nitin Rajan, Jason Criscione, Jason Park, Mark Reed and Tarek Fahmy (all of Yale University); Bojan Ilic (Cornell University); David Mooney (Harvard University).
Distinct components within the sensor perform purification and detection. A microfluidic purification chip simultaneously captures multiple biomarkers from blood samples and releases them, after washing, into purified buffer for sensing by a silicon nanoribbon detector. This two-stage approach isolates the detector from the complex environment of whole blood, and reduces its minimum required sensitivity by effectively pre-concentrating the biomarkers. Nature Nanotechnology, Dec 13, 2009
Scientists have developed a new technique that can test for up to 5,000 different allergens from just one drop of blood.
Dr Franco Falcone, Associate Professor in The University of Nottingham's School of Pharmacy, said that he and his colleagues were thrilled to have won a Da Vinci award as it would be crucial in acting as a springboard to the further progression of their research. PhysOrg.com
A simple blood test that identifies early lung cancer before it has had a chance to spread could save lives by alerting doctors to the need for treatment. Lung cancer is responsible for 1.3 million deaths each year worldwide. Detecting lung tumors in the earliest stages now looks promising.
Mark Semenuk, a researcher at Panacea Pharmaceuticals in Gaithersburg, Maryland, US, presented the lung cancer test at a meeting in Atlanta, Georgia, US, on molecular diagnostics in cancer therapeutic development run by the American Association for Cancer Research. Semenuk and colleagues developed the test, which measures levels of a protein called human aspartyl beta-hydroxylase (HAAH) in the blood.
Scientists believe HAAH migrates to the surface of a cell to help make it receptive to chemical cues that promote growth. Laboratory findings also suggest that if the protein stays too long at the cell's surface, it may fail to mature properly, and can become cancerous.
The test received approval for limited laboratory testing in July 2007, but the FDA has yet to approve a commercial version of the test.
In one experiment, they used this test to screen blood serum taken from 303 people, 160 of whom were known to have lung cancer at various stages of development. Their test accurately identified the presence of cancer in all but one of the patients with the disease.
In a second experiment, the team screened blood from a further 60 patients with lung cancer at several known stages of development. This included 15 people with stage 1 lung cancer – the earliest stage of this illness and at which point the cancer has not yet spread. All 60 samples tested positive for cancer, indicating that the test can reliably detect the illness early on. New Scientist
More than 3 nanograms of HAAH per milliliter of blood is considered to be abnormal. In the test, people with lung cancer had an average HAAH count of 34 ng/ml of blood. Although the HAAH levels for the rest of the group, which included 93 non-smokers and 50 smokers, were much lower, about 8 % of those without the cancer had more than 3 ng/ml, triggering a handful of false positive results.