Early detection of Type I diabetes by a microsphere-based assay
A fluorescence based assay has been developed by a team of researchers in the Centre for Engineering in Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The fluorescence detection finds the antibodies within microliter volume serum samples. This new method is much more powerful and effective in the detection of type 1 diabetes than the radioimmunoassay which is quite prevalent in use these days to detect the disease. RIA is actually considered to be the gold standard or the best method to use to detect diabetes in clinics. However, the new technology is estimated to be several times more efficient than the traditional method followed.
The report of the study was published in the Journal Technology. Dr Yarmush who is the senior author of this paper and who has conducted the research at the Massachusetts General Hospital is of the opinion that this is a mixing of combinations built on different technologies that gives very sensitive and accurate results. The non- radioactive assay gives millions of people the hope of detecting type I diabetes in early stages itself. This study is extremely important as it is useful in detecting Islet Cell Auto antibodies in patients who are nearing the onset of diabetes and this early detection would be significant as it can be detected before the loss of islet cell mass. The fluorescence based assay helps in the understanding of the onset of type I diabetes and to understand the gradual building up of the diabetes progression.
This method is built on the RCA (rolling circle amplification) and the assay was developed in such a way that it can be applied to any antigen antibody pair without lots of changes. In the paper, two different auto antibodies were studied in detail but this study and assay can be applied to many antibodies which make this a very important study. The Massachusetts General Hospital plans to develop this technology with varied modifications including multiplexing the assay for detection of multi antibodies within a small sample volume.
This new method detects islet cell antibodies even at low concentration in serum which could lead to early detection and early treatment ultimately controlling the disease in the earlier stages itself. This will actively reduce the progression of diabetes.