Washington, 14 July-2014, ANI: A new inexpensive and portable nanotech microchip has been invented by the Stanford researchers that could help test type-1 diabetes in order to improve health care worldwide.
The test employed nanotechnology to detect type-1 diabetes outside the hospital settings and the handheld microchips distinguished between the two main forms of diabetes mellitus, which were both characterized by high blood-sugar levels but have different causes and treatments. Until now, making the distinction has required a slow, expensive test available only in sophisticated health-care settings. The researchers are seeking Food and Drug Administration approval of the device.
Brian Feldman, MD, said that with the new test, not only would they be able to diagnose diabetes more efficiently and more broadly, but they would also understand diabetes better, both the natural history and how new therapies impact the body.
Better testing was needed because recent changes in who gets each form of the disease have made it risky to categorize patients based on their age, ethnicity or weight, as was common in the past, and also because of growing evidence that early, aggressive treatment of type-1 diabetes improves patients’ long-term prognoses.
The microchip uses no radioactivity but relies on a fluorescence-based method for detecting the antibodies, produces results in minutes, and requires minimal training to use. Each chip was expected to cost about 20 dollars to produce and could be used for upward of 15 tests. The microchip also uses a much smaller volume of blood than the older test; instead of requiring a lab-based blood draw, it could be done with blood from a finger prick.
The close relatives of diabetic patients might also be benefited from the test because it would allow doctors to quickly and cheaply track their auto-antibody levels before they show symptoms.
The team has filed for a patent on the microchip, and the researchers also were working to launch a startup company to help get the method approved by the FDA and bring it to market, both in the United States and in parts of the world where the old test is too expensive and difficult to use.
The research is published online in Nature Medicine.