MIT researchers have designed a novel sensor that could significantly boost up the sepsis diagnosis process. Every year, almost 250,000 patients in the US expire due to sepsis.
Sepsis occurs due to an aggressive immune response generated by the body against the infection. Under this condition, the inflammation chain—initiated by the immune system—triggers and causes an increase in the heart rate, shortness of breath, high fever, and other issues. If left untreated, it can lead to organ failure due to a fall in blood pressure. Traditional diagnostic tools used by doctors to diagnose sepsis include several blood tests, vital symptoms, and other lab & imaging tests.
In the past few years, scientists have identified early indicators of sepsis circulating in the bloodstream. According to the researchers, the presence of protein biomarkers reveals the developing stage of sepsis. The researchers found that a particular protein interleukin-6 (IL-6) produces in response to inflammation. In sepsis patients, the levels of IL-6 increase hours before other symptoms start showing. However, traditional diagnosis tests are not efficient enough to rapidly detect the concentration of IL-6 even at elevated levels due to sepsis.
The recently designed microfluidics-based device by the researchers is capable enough to detect the elevated levels of IL-6 due to sepsis in around 25 Minutes.
On a similar note, a different team of researchers, after thoroughly understanding the idea behind embryonic development, has found a technique to develop specific tissues and organs from stem cells under laboratory conditions.
Recently, researchers at EPFL (École polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne) in Switzerland have built an exclusive apparatus to direct stem cells to differentiate into a preferred cell type. The microfluidic device imitates in-vivo conditions and cautiously delivers morphogens to the embryonic stem cells. After the embryonic stem cells are exposed to specific chemical gradients of the morphogens, they start differentiating into the desired cell type and ultimately form a particular tissue.