Soon, a drop of blood may help predict heart disease

June 2nd, 2009 - 1:41 pm ICT by ANI  

Washington, June 2 (ANI): A single drop of blood would soon help in testing patients at risk of developing heart disease, according to Dr Shashi K. Murthy of the Department of Chemical Engineering at Northeastern University in Boston.

A team of researchers from Harvard and Northeastern universities in Boston have come up with a new credit card-sized device that may help physicians to monitor heart disease and help grow new vascular tissue for transplants.

They showed how this device can measure and collect a type of cells needed to build vascular tissue, called endothelial progenitor cells, using only 200 microliters of blood.

“This simple device is a promising tool for the pediatric and adult population in detecting, diagnosing, monitoring, and providing the option of treating cardiovascular disease by utilizing a small quantity of blood,” said Dr Murthy.

The device works similar to Velcro or a magnet. The inside is coated with antibodies that only bind to endothelial progenitor cells. Blood flows through the device through a funnel-like opening and passes over the antibodies, and endothelial progenitor cells are “picked up” in the process.

In addition to allowing researchers to collect cells from a very small amount of blood, the device’s design also provides researchers with a new model to study the effects that blood flow in the body has on cell binding (like clots form in arteries).

“Most immediately, this is could be a new tool to assess cardiovascular health that cuts the amount of blood needed down to a pin prick. Its compact size might make it an excellent tool for use in developing countries where access to medical laboratories does not exist,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal.

The study appears in The FASEB Journal. (ANI)

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