VTT creates new portable device that measures inflammation levels quickly in home environment

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland has developed a portable device for measuring inflammation levels quickly in home environment.

"The device is intended for healthcare professionals or patients themselves at home. It is about the same size as a blood pressure monitor," says Marika Kurkinen, project manager from VTT.

CRP or C-reactive protein is an inflammation marker. CRP concentration rises fairly rapidly in blood during bacterial infections. The doctor may order CRP measurements in case he or she is suspecting an inflammation as the cause of the patient's symptoms. CRP measurements performed at home are useful when assessing the need for visiting a doctor, monitoring the effect of antibiotics and treating certain chronic diseases.

A drop of blood is enough; test result to a smartphone

The test takes around twenty minutes to perform altogether from taking a fingertip blood sample to receiving the results.

The blood sample is diluted with a solution in a test tube supplied with the device, a drop of which is then applied on the test strip. The strip is placed in the portable measuring device, which measures the amount of CRP in the blood sample and sends the result wirelessly to the CRP application on the user's mobile phone. The test provides the inflammation value in numerical form.

The disposable test strip is based on the lateral flow method, and it uses antibodies to detect the CRP marker from the blood. The device measures optically the fluorescence of the sample area. VTT expertise in test chemistry, optics, electronics and software development was used to develop the device. Particular attention was paid to achieve a quantitative CRP measurement result.

VTT is now seeking a business partner to validate and commercialize the test strip and device.

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