New Developments in Coagulation Analyzing

Morayma ReyesA July 28th press release from Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics introduced their newest development for fast and reliable testing at the point of care: a portable coagulation analyser.

Similar in size to a smartphone and weighing 300g, the Xprecia Stride Coagulation Analyser is a hand-held and portable coagulation analyser that’s able to deliver fast, reliable testing in any clinical environment.

Launched by Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics, it’s used for prothrombin time testing (PT/INR) for point-of-care monitoring and management of oral anticoagulation therapy (OAT) with warfarin, which is a vitamin K antagonist, the Xprecia Stride was specifically designed to meet the increasing demand for speedy and reliable PT/INR results to help clinicians make accelerated and confident decisions.

Part of therapy monitoring for patients with a myriad of conditions including atrial fibrillation, open and minimally invasive heart valve replacement, deep vein thrombosis, and congenital heart defects, PT/INR tests provided by Xprecia Stride are “designed to be safe and efficient whilst allowing many patients to be tested in a broad variety of environments,” said Steve Carey, Product Manager Point of Care at Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics.

Carey claims the Xprecia Stride to be one of the most user-friendly designed point-of-care coagulation analysers since they became available over two decades ago. With it’s very user-friendly interface featuring simplistic icons and animation, it can be held at a variety of angles to ensure efficient and comfortable blood sampling when brought directly to the patient’s finger.

For even more efficiency, an integrated bar-code scanner simplifies data capture for identification of operator and patient plus accurate calibration of new lot numbers prior to testing. Results are processed within seconds of use, utilising the same reagent used by Siemens central laboratory analysers to minimise any potential for variability.

Allowing easy data transfer to computers, a color display, animated step-by-step instructions to help guide the user, and safety features that allow users to eject a used test strip and easily dispose of it without ever touching it, it’s no wonder the Xprecia Stride is the recipient of the internationally respected Red Dot Award: Product Design for 2015.

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Washington University Scientists One Step Closer to Curing Color Blindness

Morayma Reyes

Washington University Scientists One Step Closer to Curing Colorblindness

In collaboration with a biotech company, researches from the University of Washington are working toward the final stages of presenting the public with a cure for colorblindness. Husband and wife duo, Jay and Maureen Neitz have researched this condition for years, and are currently involved in an exclusive deal with the University of Washington and Avalanche Biotechnologies for starting testing on human subjects. The treatment is rooted in the replacement of polluted cells called cones, that don’t have color-producing proteins. By producing these cells artificially, the team can then give a shot to the eye in hopes of allowing people with this condition to distinguish between different hues.

There are over 10 million Americans that suffer from colorblindness, and so far this is the closest we have come to actually curing this vision deficiency. People who are colorblind fall in three different categories; unable to see a combination of red-green, blue- yellow, and a small portion of this population is fully colorblind —  can only see different shades of grey. Colorblind people are able to lead normal lives, however, they are limited to certain careers that require great detail to color.

The research team is confident in their findings, and will begin testings on humans in as little as two years, and the research team remains hopeful that future trials will be successful. The potential benefits to this medical treatment can prove to be hugely successful, and could change the lives of many people. The program’s website has been flooded with inquiries and questions regarding testing. People are curious to know the future of the study and ways they can become involved. Many of those who are colorblind do not see it as a crippling deficiency, and have been able to lead normal lives. However, being able to see things in a new way is an exciting endeavor that many would like to experience. Jay and Maureen Neitz are also looking forward to seeing their life’s work in the final clinical testing phase, and they are hopeful to succeed in curing colorblindness.

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Coagulation Conducted Through Your Smartphone

Morayma ReyesPeople suffering from coagulation conditions will be relieved to find out that researchers in Switzerland are now a step closer to finalizing coagulation testing through smartphones, which will allow patients to test themselves at home. This advancement in technology is another indicator that points to the likelihood of medical testing moving away from a hospital setting and becoming more convenient for patients.

The work conducted by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology is aiming at constructing an apparatus that allows outpatients to check and measure their anti-coagulation levels in the comfort of their home, which could possible save people thousands of dollars in hospital visits.

Most coagulation tests that require frequent blood- flow measuring are conducted in clinical laboratories and under the supervision of a physician. These anticoagulation therapy treatments determine the dosage of drugs that will help with thinning the blood, and prevent future clotting episodes, which in turn lowers the possibility of heart attacks and strokes. Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) are now working towards creating a feature that can be adapted by all smartphone, which will allow patients to conduct these measurements at home and whenever it is convenient for them.

The patient would use an attachable one time film that can connect directly to your device. This film is made of micrometers that create an electrical field. By adding a drop of blood on the film layer, a reaction is triggered, which then begins the coagulation testing process. The blood is then transferred to a software, which inspects the disruptions on the surface of the film, thus producing coagulation blood levels for the patient. The application then delivers the results directly to a physician, who is able to determine the appropriate dosage treatments for their patient.

It is still to be determined how these devices will be received by the public and the board of primary physicians. The complex steps and the ease of transferring confidential patient data between devices can become a complex issue, especially when one considers the recent data breaching with mobile phones. Physicians are also concerned with the accuracy of this technology and its ability to correctly translate exact anti- coagulation levels in patients. Although this technology is still early in its developmental stages, many believe it could be a great start that could be translatable to a series of in home testing.

Understanding and Monitoring Bleeding Disorders

Dr. Morayma ReyesBleeding disorders affect millions of people across the world annually. Many people who suffer from these conditions have problems with blood clotting and coagulation, or hemophilia- a disease that is mostly found in males. The roots to these disorders could be hereditary, or due to inactivity and dietary restrictions. There are levels of severity to coagulation, which is why doctors encourage patients with a family history of this disease to undergo tests in order to closely monitor this disorder. 

Most of the tests are administered in hospital safe environments and do not require any preparation from patients. These tests are meant to evaluate organs that are closely related to coagulation disorders such as the liver and the reduction of coagulation factors in the blood stream. Identifying problems within these factors like the activity levels within the blood stream can aid physicians to find the root problem and establish an appropriate treatment.

The testing is meant to discover if the patient is able to control their blood clotting process by administering enough coagulation activity. If doctors determine that the factors are too low or non existent, then the disorder is associated with a lower clot formation and bleeding. In other cases, patients that have a high amount of clot formations are usually associated with thrombosis- a disorder that obstructs the blood flow though veins.

A few indicators that can impel patients to seek out tests could be the experience of bruising easily, excessive bleeding and extended Prothrombin Time (PT) or Partial Thromboplastin Time (PTT). In many cases, patients who are experiencing low levels of vitamin K deficiency, or liver disease are also encouraged to get tested.