Tuesday August 21, 2018

Rutgers Researchers Develop Automated Robotic Device For Faster Blood Testing

The testing used artificial arms with plastic tubes that served as blood vessels

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The findings, published in the journal Diabetologia, were based on data from nearly 2,800 children with a first-degree relative with Type-1 diabetes.
The findings, published in the journal Diabetologia, were based on data from nearly 2,800 children with a first-degree relative with Type-1 diabetes. Pixabay
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Researchers have developed an automated blood drawing and testing device that provides rapid results and allows health care practitioners to spend more time treating patients.

The study, published in the journal TECHNOLOGY, suggests that the device provides highly accurate results from a white blood cell test, using a blood-like fluid spiked with fluorescent microbeads.

It includes an image-guided robot for drawing blood from veins, a sample-handling module and a centrifuge-based blood analyser, researchers said.

The testing used artificial arms with plastic tubes that served as blood vessels.

“This device represents the holy grail in blood testing technology,” said co-author Martin L. Yarmush from the Rutgers University-New Brunswick in New Jersey.

Representational image.
Representational image. Pixabay

“Integrating miniaturised robotic and microfluidic (lab-on-a-chip) systems, this technology combines the breadth and accuracy of traditional blood drawing and laboratory testing with the speed and convenience of point-of-care testing,” Yarmush added.

According to researchers, diagnostic blood testing is the most commonly performed clinical procedure in the world, and it influences most of the medical decisions made in hospitals and laboratories.

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But the success rate of manually drawing blood samples depends on clinicians’ skill and patient physiology and nearly all test results come from centralised labs that handle large numbers of samples and use labour-intensive analytical techniques, researchers added.

The device could provide rapid test results at bedsides or in ambulances, emergency rooms, clinics and doctors’ offices. (IANS)

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Researchers Unveil the Power of Turmeric in Fighting Cancer

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin's clinical application in cancer

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Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric's power to fight cancer. Pixabay

A team of Indian-American researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) and at the University of Utah at Salt Lake City, has used an ingenious process to enable curcumin to kill cancer cells.

Curcumin is the active ingredient of turmeric (haldi), the ubiquitous kitchen spice that gives curry its yellow color. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice and medicinal herb because of its powerful anti-inflammatory and strong antioxidant property.

Curcumin is also known to exhibit anti-cancer properties, but its poor solubility in water had impeded curcumin’s clinical application in cancer. A drug needs to be soluble in water as otherwise it will not flow through the bloodstream.

Despite decades of research, the development of efficient strategies that can effectively deliver poorly water-soluble curcumin to cancer cells had remained a challenge.

A team headed by Dipanjan Pan, associate professor of bioengineering at UIUC, has now found a way out.

“Curcumin’s medicinal benefit can be fully appreciated if its solubility issue is resolved,” Pan told this correspondent in an e-mail.

turmeric
Indian-American researchers unleash turmeric’s power to fight cancer. Pixabay

Pan’s laboratory collaborated with Peter Stang at the University of Utah on ways to be able to render curcumin soluble, deliver it to infected tumors and kill the cancer cells.

Because platinum is a commonly used cancer therapeutic agent in the clinic, the researchers decided to experiment with a drug consisting of a combination of platinum and curcumin.

“It is a combination of clever chemistry and nano-precipitation utilising host guest chemistry,” Pan explained. “The sophisticated chemistry leads to self-assembled hierarchical structure that drives the solubility of curcumin and simultaneously delivers an additional anticancer agent, i.e. platinum. The combined therapeutic effect — of curcumin and platinum — is lethal for the cancer cells.”

The team has reported its work in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences” in the US.

According to their report, the metallocyclic complex created using platinum “not only enabled curcumin’s solubility, but proved to be 100 times more effective in treating various cancer types such as melanoma and breast cancer cells than using curcumin and platinum agents separately”.

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“Our results demonstrate that curcumin works completely in sync with platinum and exerts synergistic effect to show remarkable anticancer properties,” says the report. “The platinum-curcumin combination kills the cells by fragmenting its DNA.”

“Extensive animal studies are in progress in my laboratory, including in rodents and pigs,” Pan said. His team also hopes to prove that this method will be effective in killing cancer stem cells — the birth place of cancer cells — thereby preventing the recurrence of cancer.

Pan’s team included post-doctoral researcher Santosh Misra at UIUC, and Sougata Datta, Manik Lal Saha, Nabajit Lahiri, Janis Louie, and Peter J. Stang from the University of Utah. (IANS)