The technology means doctors could diagnose asthma even if their patients are not experiencing symptoms during their visit to the clinic.
Using just a single drop of blood, a team of UW-Madison researchers has developed a faster, cheaper and more accurate tool for diagnosing even mild cases of asthma.
This handheld technology — which takes advantage of a previously unknown correlation between asthmatic patients and the most abundant type of white blood cells in the body — means doctors could diagnose asthma even if their patients are not experiencing symptoms during their visit to the clinic.
The team described its findings in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) published online on April 7. The researchers used neutrophil cell function in a clinical study to show accurate asthma diagnosis.
“What we’ve done in this paper is presented data that neutrophil cell function in some cases can predict — and in this case actually predicted and measured — whether someone is asthmatic or not,” says David Beebe, a UW-Madison professor of biomedical engineering and co-author on the paper. “This is one of the first studies to show that this process could actually work in a cheap, easy and practical way.”
Asthma remains a very difficult disorder to accurately diagnose. Currently, asthma diagnosis consists of a series of clinical tests, often heavily informed by lung functionality tests. “They’ll measure how much air you can take in, and they’ll measure different chemical components of the respired air,” Beebe says.
Many of the current tests for diagnosing asthma rely at least partially on the patient experiencing symptoms during or close to their physician visit. Additionally, all of the diagnostic tests require the patient’s compliance, which can make diagnosis difficult for the elderly or in children. “Right now, asthma diagnosis is based on indirect measures,” Beebe says, “which is not optimal. So the premise in this paper was that cell function could be used to diagnose asthma and that we could measure cell function in way that was simple and cheap enough to be used clinically.”
To directly diagnose asthma, Beebe and his team focused on the cell function of neutrophils. Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cell in the body and generally are the first cells to migrate toward inflammation. “Neutrophils are sort of like a dog tracking something. They sense a chemical gradient, like an odor, in the body,” Beebe says.
In other words, the human body emits chemical signals in response to inflammation or wounds and the neutrophils detect those chemical signals and migrate to the site of the wound to aid in the healing process. Researchers can track the velocity at which the neutrophil cells migrate — the chemotaxis velocity — to differentiate nonasthmatic samples from the significantly reduced chemotaxis velocity of asthmatic patients.
Traditionally, a clinical study of neutrophils required so much blood work, specialized equipment and processing that it was impractical to use in diagnostics. However, UW-Madison students developed the kit-on-a-lid-assay (KOALA) microfluidic technology, which allows them to detect neutrophils using just a single drop of blood.
The KOALA diagnostic procedure is very simple. Using simple lids and bases (each being a small, cheap piece of plastic), diagnosticians place a KOALA lid containing a chemical mixture onto the base containing the blood sample. That chemical mixture triggers neutrophil migration — and researchers can automatically track and analyze the neutrophil chemotaxis velocity using custom software.
Beebe emphasizes that by using the KOALA lids containing premixed chemicals, the diagnostic procedure is scalable, cheap, quick and repeatable. “The KOALA platform represents the next-generation biomedical research kit,” he says. “Instead of getting a box of media and staining solution and having to do a lot of manual manipulation, you would get the base for the fluid sample, the prepackaged KOALA lids, and to do any testing, just place a lid (or series of lids) on the base.”
The Latest on: Asthma
via Google News
The Latest on: Asthma
- My daughter had an allergy-induced asthma attack when we were visiting London. Our visit to the ER was friendly and incredibly efficient.on August 6, 2022 at 5:30 am
The author says her visit to the ER in London was patient-friendly and made her feel heard and supported. Her daughter even got a snack.
- Obesity, Physical Inactivity Linked With Higher Risk for Activity Limits in Asthmaon August 5, 2022 at 10:39 am
Patients with asthma and all types of obesity, or with all types of obesity and physical inactivity, have an increased risk for limited activity of daily living, according to the results of a recent ...
- Position Paper: Alpine Altitude Climate Treatment May Benefit Patients With Severe Asthmaon August 5, 2022 at 6:59 am
Patients with severe and uncontrolled asthma may benefit from alpine air, the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology reports.
- Is It Safe To Use A Heating Pad When You Have Asthma?on August 5, 2022 at 12:48 am
Finding relief during an asthma attack can be challenging, especially during spring or winter. Heating pads may relieve the painful symptoms of asthma.
- Climate change's aggravating impact on asthma suffererson August 4, 2022 at 9:06 pm
More than 50 million Americans suffer from allergies. It's the sixth leading chronic illness, and one in 13 people are affected. And in recent years, it seems like it's getting worse.
- 'Brutal out here:' Here's why hot weather hits harder when you have asthmaon August 4, 2022 at 7:00 pm
Precautions that might include staying in air conditioning during hot parts of the day, only heading outside during cooler time periods, staying hydrated and walking around with a cup full of ice ...
- Man almost died after heart stopped twice during first asthma attack he ever hadon August 3, 2022 at 9:14 am
After nearly losing his life, husband and dad Jamie Bell, 36, believes more education is needed on the condition. From mild to severe, here are the symptoms of asthma and what to do about it.
- Why Steroids Don’t Work in Severe Asthma Patientson August 3, 2022 at 5:13 am
Secretions of fibroblast growth factor (FGF) and granulocytic colony-stimulating growth factor (G-CSF) in airway epithelium may be to blame.
- Finding the lowest effective dose of asthma preventer medicineon August 2, 2022 at 9:31 pm
Seven out of ten Australians with asthma aged over 12 years may be prescribed too much preventer medicine. In Australian Prescriber Prof Helen Reddel and coauthors from the Woolcock Institute of ...
- What To Expect When You Go To The Hospital For A Severe Asthma Attackon August 2, 2022 at 4:48 pm
If you or a loved one has asthma, you understand how frightening asthma attacks can be. Here's what to expect if you're hospitalized for asthma treatment.
via Bing News