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Scientific Breakthrough: Calculating Risk Of Infection In Mere Minutes From A Droplet Of Blood


11/27/2013 8:34:12 AM

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Neutrophils are a vital part of the body’s immune system. Recognized as the most abundant type of white blood cell present in human blood, neutrophils function primarily as the body’s first line of defense against infection and inflammation. Within minutes of stimulation, neutrophils migrate from the blood to tissue where they accumulate at sites of infection. One of the most common lab tests ordered on a regular basis is the counting of neutrophils in the blood (absolute neutrophil count).

“However, simply counting the neutrophils may not be enough in many cases. If neutrophils do not migrate well and cannot reach inside the tissues, this situation could have the same consequences as a low neutrophil count,” says Dr Daniel Irimia, Assistant Professor at the BioMEMS Resource Center at Massachusetts General Hospital. The team recently designed miniaturized silicon-based devices that can be used to measure neutrophils’ migration patterns from just a finger prick of blood in a few minutes. He also says, “The device was designed such that probing neutrophil mobility becomes extremely easy to perform.”

Current methods to measure neutrophil functions involve separating the neutrophils from the whole blood. This separation process can take up to two hours to prepare and execute by skilled lab personnel. In a clinical context, such as cases of patients with burn injuries, this is not ideal as priorities can shift quickly throughout the day.

By being able to measure the risk for infections that a particular patient has at a particular time, in a matter of minutes, from just a droplet of blood, is a significant improvement and one that will improve current treatment.

For more information on this research, refer to: http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/S2339547813500040

About TECHNOLOGY

Fashioned as a high-impact, high-visibility, top-echelon publication, this new ground-breaking journal - TECHNOLOGY - will feature the development of cutting-edge new technologies in a broad array of emerging fields of science and engineering. The content will have an applied science and technological slant with a focus on both innovation and application to daily lives. It will cover diverse disciplines such as health and life science, energy and environment, advanced materials, technology-based manufacturing, information science and technology, and marine and transportations technologies.

About World Scientific Publishing Co.

World Scientific Publishing is a leading independent publisher of books and journals for the scholarly, research and professional communities. The company publishes about 500 books annually and more than 120 journals in various fields. World Scientific collaborates with prestigious organisations like the Nobel Foundation, US National Academies Press, as well as its subsidiary, the Imperial College Press, amongst others, to bring high quality academic and professional content to researchers and academics worldwide. To find out more about World Scientific, please visit www.worldscientific.com.

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