Researchers Identify New Way to Detect Lung Disease

Sep, 2020 - By SMI

Researchers Identify New Way to Detect Lung Disease

Further validation is required before this approach can be used in humans, however, the team found no signs of toxicity in the lungs of mice.

Using special nanoparticles, the research team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has developed a new and promising way to monitor pneumonia (an infection in one or both lungs) or other lung diseases by analyzing the exhaled breath. In a mice study, the researchers have shown that the system can be used to monitor bacterial pneumonia and a genetic disorder of the lungs named alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency. The use of breath exhaled by the patient to assess the health of lungs and to reveal the diseases associated with them is emerging as a diagnostic tool with huge potential.

Now, the MIT team has developed a new type of nanoparticle that accumulates volatile molecules in proteins associated with various diseases. However, further validation is required before this approach can be used in humans. The team found no signs of toxicity in the lungs of the mouse. Moreover, this new research is based on previous work by Sangeeta N. Bhatia, who demonstrated a new technique that can diagnose lung cancer earlier, a urine test that can pick up the presence of proteins associated with the disease.

Some peptides in technology contain coated nanoparticles that interact with disease-related proteins named proteases. The proteases stick to peptides of nanoparticles, which then are excreted in the urine to reveal the existence of specific diseases. They can be customized to react with proteins linked to different diseases. Previously, the team used this approach to detect initial signs of pneumonia, as well as signs of colon and ovarian cancer, through the urine. Now, the researchers have adapted this technology to reveal disease through the exhaled breath. According to the team, the new approach helps diagnose such diseases in around 10 minutes. The research was published in the Nature Nanotechnology journal.

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