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
[google_news title=”” keyword=”Asthma” num_posts=”10″ blurb_length=”0″ show_thumb=”left”]
via Google News
The Latest on: Asthma
- New York Attorney General Letitia James wants FDA to take action against asthma, allergy drug Singulairon February 22, 2024 at 4:40 pm
James says the anti-inflammatory drug has been linked to harmful behavioral and mental health issues in children.
- New York AG asks FDA to double down on warnings, discourage prescription for asthma drugon February 22, 2024 at 4:20 pm
The New York attorney general’s office is asking the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to double down on its warnings and discourage the use of an asthma drug. “The New York Office of the Attorney ...
- N.Y. Attorney General Urges Stricter Warnings for Asthma Drugon February 22, 2024 at 1:27 pm
The A.G., Letitia James, called on the F.D.A. to redouble efforts to alert doctors about potential side effects of Singulair and to consider discouraging use of the drug for children.
- This Asthma Drug Can Prevent Severe Food Allergies from Peanuts, Milk, and Eggson February 22, 2024 at 9:42 am
The FDA recently approved Xolair for severe food allergies. Xolair is an injection that lowers the risk of allergic reactions.
- Asthma in kids is a lens to understand how racism and inequity lead to poor healthon February 21, 2024 at 2:54 pm
Long Island is one place where such disparities are hidden within affluence: Asthma disproportionately affects Black and Hispanic children and those in high-poverty neighborhoods. Wyandanch, a ...
- Nearly 3 million asthma attacks could be prevented among children with cleaner energyon February 21, 2024 at 11:47 am
Nearly three million asthma attacks in children could be prevented by 2050 if the United States transitioned to electric vehicles and clean power, according to a new report published Wednesday. ...
- Move to Electric Vehicles Could Prevent Millions of Child Asthma Attacks Each Yearon February 21, 2024 at 7:31 am
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 21, 2024 (HealthDay News) -- If all cars and trucks sold in America were "zero emission" by 2040 and the country's electric grid was also powered by clean energy, nearly 2.8 million ...
- Parents search for Flovent alternatives as childhood asthma inhaler production stops in USon February 21, 2024 at 6:28 am
Flovent, one of the most commonly prescribed asthma medications, is no longer being manufactured. Parents share their thoughts on alternatives.
- 100% EVs, green grid would prevent 2.8M child asthma attacks — reporton February 21, 2024 at 2:27 am
If the U.S. meets three targets — 100 percent zero-emission passenger vehicle sales by 2035, emission-free truck sales by 2040 and a fossil-fuel-free electric grid by 2035 — it could prevent 2.79 ...
- Shifting to EVs Could Prevent Millions of Childhood Asthma Attackson February 20, 2024 at 4:00 pm
But the price of living there is steep: Exhaust from all those cars and trucks leads to higher rates of childhood asthma, cancer, cardiovascular disease, and pulmonary ailments. Many people die ...
via Bing News