An important factor to be considered while diagnosing a disease of a patient and deciding the course of therapy he or she requires; is the status of the respective patient’s immune system. The clinician or doctor must be informed about how well it is working. It seems a part of this aspect has now been addressed with the newly developed hybrid chip bu researchers from Nanyang Technology University in Singapore.
The health of white blood cells in a whole blood sample can easily be assessed by their hybrid chip. It functions to separate white blood cells from other components present in the blood sample, by a series of components that this microfluidic chip contains. Much like a coin sorting machine, thousands of cells are easily processed using a similar mechanism. The white cells in the blood sample are analyzed by impedance sensors within the device. The idea is to and indirectly measure the size of these cells as those that are relatively larger in size are the ones that are unhealthy. These unhealthy ones also have different membrane consistencies. One of the major advantages of this approach is that it is inexpensive and easy to conduct as there is no involvement of antibodies, biomarkers, or other chemicals.
Possible diseases or health conditions can be detected through singling out the white blood cells, as they constitute the major part of the immune system of our body; hence their status can be representative of the overall immune system.
The device’s competence was demonstrated by comparing the blood of healthy volunteers and those with diabetes. The outcome was successful though for now the device has been designed for being used in a laboratory only. Eventually, it can be turned into a portable diagnostic after the necessary modifications and optimization needed to enable that.
Ana Fischer is the acting CEO and executive director of the commercial USA Association of the States Pharmaceutical Industry. She has been registered with the General Dental Council for three years as a dental care professional and has worked in a variety of clinical roles as well as her current academic position, some examples are within community, private and mixed practice.