Part of the problem lies with standard allergy tests. The two most common diagnostic tests, a skin-prick test and blood test, are less than definitive.
But a new testing device that screens a patient's immune cells for small proteins known as cytokines promises to provide a more accurate method for detecting food allergies, according to an article published in the latest issue of the journal Lab on a Chip.
According to a release:
To perform the test, blood must be drawn from the patient, and white blood cells (which include T cells) are isolated from the sample.
The cells are exposed to a potential allergen and then placed into about 100,000 individual wells arranged in a lattice pattern on a soft rubber surface. Using a technique known as microengraving, the researchers make "prints" of the cytokines produced by each cell onto the surface of a glass slide. The amount of cytokine secreted by each individual cell can be precisely measured. For food-allergy testing, the cytokines of most interest are IL4, IL5 and IL9.
Previously: Stanford study shows lack of criteria for diagnosing food allergies
Via Ars Technica
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