device blood

A new device that can measure the rates of inflammation in the body may help to improve treatment for type 2 diabetes as it greatly improves the efficiency of blood tests.

Current inflammation tests take a longer time to yield results because the blood cells need to be separated out before analysis.

Scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have developed a new, cheap, and speedy device that can measure inflammation within minutes with just a single drop of blood. The current tests require a vial of blood taken from the arm and results take several hours.

Inflammation levels could have a lot of significance on treatment of type 2 diabetes in the future, as it is thought that looking at both inflammation levels and blood glucose levels could help doctors to refine the treatments they prescribe.

Dr Hou Han Wei, senior research fellow of NTU’s Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine had a key part to play in the invention of the new device.

He worked on a chip which has microscopic channels, and sorts blood automatically by taking advantage of the different sizes of the blood cells. “By designing very tiny channels on our chip,” he explained, “we are able to physically separate the various blood cells by size into the different outlets, like a coin-sorting machine.”

Once the blood cells are sorted, the numbers of the types of a certain white blood cells can indicate the amount of inflammation in the body. This can then “help indicate how bad an inflammation is and if there is an increased risk of infection for diabetic patients,” Hou continued.

“Hopefully in the future, clinicians can accurately tailor the right combination of drugs and thus offer a more targeted treatment approach for all diabetic patients.”

The next stage for the future of the device is for more studies to be carried out to see how the device can be used to tailor people’s treatments, and if it can improve health outcomes.