How Fibre-optic blood tests improve your immunity
The major issues with most of the deadliest chronic diseases in the world is its late detection. Many diseases including fatal ones like Cancer and HIV AIDS can be cured on early detection. However, it’s means are very limited and unreliable. Northeastern University’s assistant professor Mark Niedre, is developing new technology to track rare cells circulating in the blood —a potential breakthrough that could dramatically expand biomedical research by leading to the detection of metastatic cancer cells and circulating hematopoietic stem cells.
Traditional testing methods use random blood samples to test the blood for disease. The disease-causing agents are highlighted in fluorescent. At initial stages, the density of these cells is very less and it increases gradually over time. It is not necessary that the random blood sample includes these disease-causing agents at initial stages and the disease is easily overlooked. To overcome this limitation of traditional approach, Niedre improvises it with the use of optical fibre system. He proposes to build a ring-shaped device that will fit around the limb of a mouse utilising fibre optics that can non-invasively view and collect data on specific cells that have been fluorescently tagged as they pass through the mouse’s bloodstream.
This technology gives a new opening in biomedical engineering and pathology. Scanning blood streams at such minute levels can open new doors for research and development. This way we can learn how tumours develop at microscopic level. Not only that but we can actually develop ways to built stronger immune systems in human beings. Stem cells are the roots of our immune system. They are concentrated in the bone marrow, while disease causing agents are generally present in blood and are on constant circulation. Niedre’s research program includes knowing the effects of stem cells flowing in the blood (in some predetermined quantities) and building drugs that will facilitate its process.
It is truly an exciting and formidable idea in the field of pathology and pharmacy!