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Cheap and effective lupus detection in less than an hour

At present, autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus or rheumatoid arthritis are difficult to diagnose because in the early stages the patient may exhibit a wide range of symptoms that can also be observed in various autoimmune diseases. As explained by Professor David Giménez Romero, a researcher at the University of Valencia (Spain), "lupus is a difficult diagnosis because it is a great imitation of many other illnesses and can also appear and disappear."

Lupus is characterized by a large production of autoantibodies that are directed against membrane antigens and among them are anti-Ro / SSA. Anti-Ro / SSA antibodies can be found in the bloodstream of other lupus related autoantibodies.

According to the investigator Universit Politècnica de València (UPV) Ángel Maquieira, part of the Institute for Molecular Recognition and Technology Development (IDM), immunological tests based on autoantibodies using ELISA are currently being used. These tests are not very sensitive, which limits the determination of the extremely low concentration of antibodies that may be present at the first moments of the disease.

To counter this deficiency, scientists at the Universitat Politècnica de València, Universitat de València and Hospital Universitari and Politecnic La Fe have developed on a laboratory scale new biosensors with high sensitivity and low cost that enable early detection of autoantibodies at very early stages of the disease.

From a sample of several microliters of blood or saliva, the patented UPV, UV and HUP La Fe system can detect the presence of anti-Ro / SSA antibodies characteristic of each disease.

"The developed biosensor is a new paradigm in the biosensing industry because we not only detect concentrations of target antibodies but can even determine the way they interact.This way, diagnosis can be made using the mechanical fingerprints of each disease while the prognosis is achieved using the target antibody concentration. is a 2 in 1 (diagnosis + prognosis) system that supposedly reduces false positives and negative results. Contemporary biosensors only quantify concentrations, "explains David Giménez, professor at the University of Valencia.

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David Giménez Romero. (Photo: UV)

At the same time, Maquieira explains, "Each autoimmune disease creates its own anti-Ro / SSA antibodies with a certain" fingerprint "and such fingerprints are characterized by a biosensor. In addition, the detector efficiently quantifies anti-Ro / SSA antibodies at very low concentrations symptomatology the patient presents exceptionally prematurely, "explains Maquieira.

As evidence of the concept, previous experiments showed a sensitivity of 1.51 U / ml autoantibodies, two orders more sensitive than current ELISA techniques.

Scientists already have a biosensor that could be used in clinical practice. The latest results of the work of UPV, UV and HUP La Fe researchers have been published in scientific journals Biosensors and Bioelectronics and Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry

Dr. José Andrés Román, director of La Fe's clinical rheumatic diseases, emphasizes that the results obtained in comparative studies with this technique in more than 150 lupus patients and a group of people with a healthy control population "confirmed this high sensitivity of the new study technique." (Source: UV)

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