Improving treatment and more
"If we can immediately measure cellular properties, we can respond immediately," Gurkan said.
They can also monitor the patient's blood after medicine has been given, and see results immediately. Presently, a doctor can only determine the effectiveness of treatment when and if pain and swelling eases, which is late in the process.
Gurkan believes the device could be used to personalize medicine for each patient by watching how blood cells respond to different medicines and different amounts.
Concepts for the test were developed in weekly meetings with collaborators, he said.
"To come up with a new, novel medical technology, you need a crossover of disciplines and you need to work with clinicians and patients," Gurkan said. "The School of Engineering is right across the street from the School of Medicine. I have an appointment at the School of Medicine as wellin orthopedics. That enables me to interact with researchers there. Because I'm part of their system, I have more opportunities to learn how we can work together."
The Duke Foundation research focuses on adults, but a Belcher-Weir Family Pediatric Innovation Award from the Center for Clinical Research and Technology at University Hospitals (UH) Case Medical Center provided a $7,500 award to apply the technology for children.
Beyond adapting the test for young patients, the scientists hope to develop a mobile diagnosis method for newborns.
Newborns with the disease have fetal hemoglobin, called HbF, which blocks the sickling action. They don't show signs of the disease until after the level of HbF is reduced as they age.
If the technology proves workable, Gurkan and his colleagues say it also may be useful for other diseases, such as determining the physical properties of circulating cancer cells that come from a primary tumor
|Contact: Kevin Mayhood|
Case Western Reserve University