A fast and easy test for sepsis, or blood poisoning as it is commonly known, has been developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology, Germany.
The credit card-sized diagnostics platform called MinoLab uses magnetic nanoparticles to provide a diagnosis in a fraction of the time of current test and without samples having to be sent to a pathology lab. It might also prove useful for identifying genetic predispositions and diagnosing cancer.
The lengthy diagnosis time associated with current procedures has contributed to sepsis being listed as a top-ten cause of death in the U.S and third most frequent cause of death in Germany, where the test was developed. The Sepsis Nexus of Expertise claims that patients arriving at the intensive care ward with blood poisoning only have a 50 percent chance of survival. A main reason for this high mortality rate is late diagnosis, with current procedures taking as much as two days to perform.
The new diagnostic platform is about as big as a credit card and takes about an hour from needle to diagnosis. It uses Sepsis cell targeting nanoparticles that bind with pathogen DNA. Using magnetic forces the Sepsis cells are guided into a detection chamber where a magnetoresistive biochip can detect pathogens and antibiotics resistance.