Microchip as a new test detecting diabetes mellitus type 1

iStock_000024327831SmallIncreasing number of obese children results in increase of diabetes mellitus type two incidence in youth. In combination with increase of diabetes mellitus type one incidence in adults, differentiation of both types of the disease without expensive, time consuming laboratory tests detecting antibodies characteristic for autoimmunologic diabetes is becoming more and more difficult. Now it can change. Scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine in California have devised cheap, mobile test which bases on nanotechnology in microchip which specificity and sensitivity does not deviate from traditional laboratory tests conducted until now.

So far, diabetes diagnostics and differentiation of its both types were based on symptoms presented by patients and on epidemiology. Type 1 was associated with children and type 2 with obese adults over 40 years old. Currently, boundaries concerning symptomatology and epidemiology were blurred because the number of children suffering from diabetes specific for adults is rising, while diabetes of autoimmunologic grounding manifest itself more often in adults because of unknown reason. What is more, due to high costs of laboratory tests detecting autoantibodies and long time of waiting for the results, this stage of diagnosis is often skipped thus leading to wrong recognition and delay of proper treatment.

A chip constructed by scientists from Stanford University School of Medicine is about to be a solution to this problem. Palm-sized system uses only a few drops of blood from fingertip and can diagnose recently developed type 1 diabetes. It also indicate people of high risk of disease development, for example, among diabetic relatives in whom symptoms have not emerged yet. Early detection of such people will allow to immediately implement suitable therapy what may result in avoidance of diabetes complications and even inhibit its development.

Because it is cheap it will contribute to screening on a wide scale and it will provide a tool for easy monitoring of the disease course. What is more, as is promised by the scientists, it will allow to better understand the nature of the very disease.

The new test can detect traces of autoantibodies which are characteristic for type 1 diabetes with a perfect accuracy. Similarly to classic tests it bases on immunofluorescence with a certain modification, namely glass plates which are the basis of microchip are covered with gold islets which have a few nanometers. These islets strengthen fluorescent signal what allows for autoantibodies detection. Radioimmunoassays currently used in diabetes type 1 diagnostics are based on radioactive materials and they need highly qualified medical personnel to be conducted. The results are obtained after a few days what generates relatively high costs per one patient.

In comparison, tests using new microchips may be used at doctors’ office and the result is known after 2-3 hours. This will contribute to instant planning of treatment method. What is more, they are not based on radioactive materials and every chip may be used for at least 15 tests.

The team responsible for the chip have already submitted patent pending and is waiting for an approval from FDA (Food and Drug Administration) to place the test on American and international market.

Written by: Tomasz Michalski, Jakub Patryn, Irmina Kmieć, Jerzy Bednarski

1. A plasmonic chip for biomarker discovery and diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. Bo Zhang, Rajiv B. Kumar, Hongjie Dai & Brian J. Feldman, Nature Medicine (2014)
2. A. Diabetes and obesity: the twin epidemics. Smyth, S. & Heron, Nat. Med. 12, 75–80 (2006).
3. International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Diabetes in children: epidemiology. Pediatr. Diabetes(S8), 10–18 (2007).
4. Multiplexed cytokine detection on plasmonic gold substrates with enhanced near-infrared fluorescence. Zhang, B. et al.  Nano Research 6, 113–120 (2013).

Would you like to know more? Watch on MEDtube.net: Diabetes Education – 3D Medical Animation

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