On Friday, scientists reported the preliminary results of the sweat sensor, which could serve as an early warning system for an impending cytokine storm. Coronavirus disease, Which can help doctors treat patients more effectively. The results were presented at the spring meeting. American Chemical Society (ACS).
In the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, doctors recognized patients with hepatitis Cytokine storm In other words, pro-inflammatory immune proteins have surged, and they were once the most diseased and most likely to die. But cytokine storms may also occur in other diseases, such as influenza.
“Especially now, in the context of COVID-19, if they can Monitoring pro-inflammatory cytokines And seeing its upward trend, patients can be treated early even before symptoms appear,” Dr. Shalini Prasad, the lead researcher of the project, introduced this work at the meeting.
Early detection is important because once the cytokine storm is released, Excessive inflammation can damage organs And cause serious illness and death. Conversely, if cytokine levels begin to rise, doctors can use steroids or other therapies, which can reduce the number of hospitalizations and deaths.
Although blood tests can measure cytokines, they are difficult to perform at home and cannot continuously monitor protein levels.Cytokines are excreted through sweat Lower than the blood level. In order to collect enough sweat for the test, the scientist asks the patient to exercise or to apply a small electric current to the patient’s skin. However, these procedures themselves can change cytokine levels, Prasad points out.
“In terms of cytokines, we found that you have to measure them in passive sweat. But The biggest challenge is that we don’t sweat muchHe said, especially in an air-conditioned environment. Prasad works at the University of Texas in the United States. He estimates that most people can only produce about 5 microliters or one-tenth of a drop of passive sweat in 0.5 inch of fur. Set it up within 10 minutes.
Therefore, the researchers wanted to develop a very sensitive method to Measure cytokine levels A small amount of passive sweat. They did this by working early on portable sweat sensors to monitor signs of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). This watch-like device is marketed by EnLiSense LLC (a company co-founded by Prasad), and it can measure the levels of two proteins that surge during an IBD outbreak.
When the device is worn on the arm, Passive sweat is spread on the disposable sensor strip Connect to an e-reader. The sensor strip containing two electrodes is coated with antibodies that bind to the two proteins. The binding of the protein to its antibody changes the current circulating through the e-reader. The reader then transmits these data wirelessly to a smartphone app, which converts the electrical measurement results into protein concentrations. After a few minutes, the old sweat spread, and the newly discharged sweat enters the test strip for analysis.
For their new cytokine sensor (called “SWEATSENSER Dx”), the researchers made sensor strips with antibodies against seven pro-inflammatory proteins: interleukin-6 (IL-6), IL-8, and tumor necrosis factor-a (TNF-a), TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand, IL-10, interferon-α-inducing protein and C-reactive protein. They inserted the test strip into your device And, in a small observational study, they tested six healthy people and five people with flu. Two of the patients showed elevated levels of cytokines. In all participants, the cytokines in passive sweat correlated with the levels of the same protein in the serum.
This ‘SWEATSENSER Dx’ It is even sensitive enough to measure cytokines in patients taking anti-inflammatory drugs, which excrete cytokines at a concentration of a few picograms per milliliter.The device executed Monitor cytokine levels It can be used for up to 168 hours before the sensor strip needs to be replaced.
EnLiSense, in collaboration with researchers, is currently planning clinical trials of cytokine sensors in patients with respiratory infections. “Contact with COVID-19 patients has always been Challenge because the medical staff are at a loss And there is no time to test the device in research,” Prasad said. But we will continue to test it in all respiratory infections, because the trigger of the disease itself is not important. We are interested in the role of cytokines.”