Researchers have developed a simple, quick and effective instrument that allows them to detect the existence of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) by using an "electronic nose." It distinguishes ulcerative colitis from Crohn's disease, and these in turn from normal subjects. The device recognizes the bio-odorant signature characteristic of the condition.
Investigators collected urine samples from healthy volunteers as well as those with ulcerative colitis and Crohn's disease; five patients from each cohort were then analyzed using a Cyrano A320 detection device which uses chemical sensors that create a "fingerprint" of the total chemical composition of a sample. Each was sampled for 30 seconds and purged for 30 additional seconds in laboratory air, and then the differential response between the sample and background air was used to analyze the specimen. The result was that the device was able to distinguish between disease groups based on their gaseous profile from urine samples.
"This gives a new insight into the nature of IBD, and in time may allow us to identify the disease at an earlier, more treatable stage," said lead investigator Ramesh P. Arasaradnam, MD, gastroenterology consultant and senior lecturer at the University of Warwick in England. "This could prevent patients from having to undergo invasive procedures." He added that the test results may be able to help clinicians select the most appropriate treatment.
Investigators hope to develop the tool to be able to distinguish where patients are on the pathway of treatment. Additionally, researchers hope to devolve the instrument into a portable device that can be carried or used by anyone in a clinical setting, gives results that are easy to interpret, does not require very specialized or high power computers, and if affordable. Right now they are using a prototype that will nee
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Digestive Disease Week