Blood test to measure iron regulating hormone developed

August 9th, 2008 - 3:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 9 (IANS) A biotech company has developed a method to measure the amount of hepcidin, a hormone that regulates dietary iron absorption and distribution in the body. The new blood test will help clinicians manage chronic conditions affecting millions of people worldwide such as anaemias and iron overload diseases.

When levels of hepcidin are too high, the availability of iron is blocked, leading to conditions like anaemia of chronic disease. When levels are low, too much iron is absorbed from the diet and released into the blood, leading to iron toxicity and conditions like iron overload disease.

The current tests do not measure hepcidin but instead measure some of its direct and indirect effects on iron and the iron-binding proteins.

The new blood test will offer more information to clinicians to help diagnose conditions and monitor the levels of hepcidin levels in their patients — leading to more efficient management of these chronic diseases.

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