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New technology promises more accurate test for food allergies


Earlier this month, a Stanford analysis of existing medical literature showed that a lack of criteria for identifying food allergies is creating the potential for misdiagnosis of this condition.

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
Photo by SearchNetMedia

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