“Scientists have developed a new diagnostic test for cystic fibrosis. The new device provides a cheaper, easier way to detect levels of chloride in sweat, which are elevated in cystic fibrosis patients.”
“Cystic fibrosis is caused by two faulty copies of a gene that affects the flow of chloride in and out of cells, leading to damage to the lungs and digestive system. While there is no cure for cystic fibrosis, early detection is key to take steps to reduce fluid build up in the lungs and prevent malnutrition, allowing patients to live into their forties or fifties. It is often diagnosed by either a genetic test (which is expensive) or by a sweat test.
Currently, testing chloride levels in sweat is done by manual titration — a labor-intensive technique that is subject to human error and can miss cases. But a new system created by researchers at Pennsylvania State University is based on a fluorescent dye that decreases in the presence of chloride, allowing the test to be automated. The research, described online in an August issue of the journal Chemical Science, is supported by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), part of NIH.”