Heart disease is a silent killer, but new microchip technology from Rice University is expected to advance the art of diagnosis.
During National Heart Health Month, Rice Professor John McDevitt will discuss the potential of this technology to detect cardiac disease early at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, D.C., Feb. 17-21. Cardiac disease is the focus of one of six ongoing major clinical trials of Rice's programmable bio-nano-chips (PBNCs).
PBNCs combine microfluidics, nanotechnology, advanced optics and electronics to enable quick, painless diagnostic tests for a wide range of diseases at minimal cost.
Current clinical trials employ PBNCs to test more than 4,000 patients for signs of heart disease, ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer and drug abuse. Versions to test for HIV/AIDS and other diseases are also in development.
"Too often, the first time people know they're suffering from heart disease is when it kills them," said McDevitt, Rice's Brown-Wiess Professor of Chemistry and Bioengineering, who will participate in a global health seminar at AAAS.
"With this test, we expect to save lives and dramatically cut the recovery time and cost of caring for those who suffer from heart ailments," said McDevitt, a pioneer in the creation of microfluidic devices for biomedical testing. He anticipates the PBNCs, when manufactured in bulk, will cost only a few dollars each.
PBNCs analyze a patient's saliva for biomarkers associated with cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, McDevitt said, only about half of the patients having a heart attack are diagnosed immediately via electrocardiogram. The rest require a series of time-consuming laboratory tests that take up to 12 hours to complete. PBNCs now in development deliver results in as little as 20 minutes and provide clinicians with timely information that can help them manage patients more effectively.
"A critical thing to recognize in a heart attack is that if we're able to open the blocked vessel within an hour, we've salvaged a heart muscle," said Biykem Bozkurt, the Mary and Gordon Cain Chair and Professor of Medicine and director of the Winters Center for Heart Failure Research at Baylor College of Medicine (BCM). "Thus, the patient's chance of survival is significantly improved."
Bozkurt and Christie Ballantyne, chief of atherosclerosis and vascular medicine and professor of medicine at BCM and director of the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention at the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center, are leading the trial at Houston's Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center, one of four sites hosting the cardiac trial that will recruit 1,000 patients.
McDevitt noted that of 5 million visits to American emergency rooms each year for chest pain, approximately 80 percent are false alarms.
"We have patients clogging the ER system and delaying the recognition of true heart attack cases because we can't, in an expeditious manner, rule out false alarms that could have been diagnosed in the ambulance or the home setting," said Bozkurt, who also serves as cardiology section chief at the VA.
The potential cost savings for even a single patient are tremendous, said Vivian Ho, the James A. Baker III Institute Chair in Health Economics and a professor of economics at Rice.
"Treating patients in the emergency room is one of the highest costs we have in the health care system," Ho said, "particularly for heart attacks, because heart disease is the leading killer of Americans and it accounts for a large proportion of our health care costs.
"If we can identify these patients quickly so we can avoid aggressive diagnostic tests further on down the road -- for example, cardiac catheterizations and procedures that cost tens of thousands of dollars -- by instead using a relatively low-cost diagnostic chip, that's a tremendous opportunity to provide better care and lower costs," she said.
McDevitt expects PBNCs and their toaster-sized reader will ultimately find a place at many points of care -- hospitals, doctors' or dentists' offices, pharmacies and remote clinics worldwide -- where they will allow clinicians to quickly diagnose a variety of ailments.
He anticipates Rice's BioScience Research Collaborative, part of the Texas Medical Center, to be the hub of a pipeline in which chips will be programmed to spot biomarkers for many important diseases.
"PNBC technology marries medical devices and microelectronics," McDevitt said, "and it has the potential to revolutionize the flow of information in the practice of medicine while significantly reducing cost. I like to think of it as the iPhone of medicine, with the same potential to be a game changer. And it's just around the corner."
Video with a short discussion and demonstration of the technology is available at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I084_NjNP5U.
Located in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked among the nation's top 20 universities by U.S. News & World Report. A Tier One research university known for its "unconventional wisdom," Rice has schools of Architecture, Business, Continuing Studies, Engineering, Humanities, Music, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences and offers its 3,485 undergraduates and 2,275 graduate students a wide range of majors. Rice has the sixth-largest endowment per student among American private research universities and is rated No. 4 for "best value" among private universities by Kiplinger's Personal Finance. Its undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio is less than 6-to-1. With a residential college system that builds close-knit and diverse communities and collaborative culture, Rice has been ranked No. 1 for best quality of life multiple times by the Princeton Review.
David Ruth | EurekAlert!
Novel PET tracer identifies most bacterial infections
06.10.2017 | Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging
Teleoperating robots with virtual reality
05.10.2017 | Massachusetts Institute of Technology, CSAIL
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
23.10.2017 | Event News
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
23.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
23.10.2017 | Earth Sciences
23.10.2017 | Health and Medicine