New Soft "sweat stickers" may streamline diagnosis of cystic fibrosis in children
Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in infants by use of sweat testing as elevated chloride concentrations in sweat are indicative of cystic fibrosis. The current approach can have poor sensitivity and require repeated testing. For further reference log on to: http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.abd8109
The concentration of chloride in sweat remains the most robust biomarker for confirmatory diagnosis of cystic fibrosis (CF), a common life-shortening genetic disorder. Early diagnosis via quantitative assessment of sweat chloride allows prompt initiation of care and is critically important to extend life expectancy and improve quality of life.
Cystic fibrosis is diagnosed in infants by use of sweat testing as elevated chloride concentrations in sweat are indicative of cystic fibrosis. The current approach can have poor sensitivity and require repeated testing.
New "sweat stickers" may streamline the early diagnosis of cystic fibrosis by enabling scientists to easily gather and analyze sweat from the skin of infants and children.
The stickers matched the performance of previous, more cumbersome devices when tested with 51 subjects, suggesting the stickers could address design obstacles that have held back the diagnosis and treatment of cystic fibrosis in pediatric patients.
Diagnosing cystic fibrosis in infancy or childhood is critical to achieve good outcomes, as current treatments must be given early to extend lifespans and alter the course of the disease. Many current diagnostics work by detecting levels of chloride in sweat, which are elevated in cystic fibrosis patients.
However, these tests must often be repeated and use unwieldy wrist-wrapped devices, making them impractical for infants with soft skin and low levels of sweat. To address this need, Tyler Ray and colleagues developed their sweat stickers, which are soft microfluidic devices with a multilayered design that can conform to the skin of both infants and adults. The stickers rapidly collect and store sweat from the skin, which scientists can then analyze using a smartphone application. The stickers collected sweat as effectively as a traditional method named MSCS in a pilot study with 18 healthy subjects and 33 patients ranging from 2 months to 51 years old.
Unlike MSCS, the stickers gathered enough sweat to avoid any repeated tests and did not cause uncomfortable skin indentations in infants. The researchers call for larger studies to further establish their platform's accuracy and precision.
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