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Novel Technology Diagnoses Immunothrombosis Using Breath Gas Analysis

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 11 Aug 2023
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Image: A novel technology can quantify protein critical to blood clot formation through breath gas analysis (Photo courtesy of Freepik)
Image: A novel technology can quantify protein critical to blood clot formation through breath gas analysis (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

Immunothrombosis, the formation of microscopic blood clots during inflammation, is as a significant contributor to morbidity in patients grappling with sepsis or severe COVID-19. Thrombin, a key enzyme, plays a central role in this process. Presently, there are no methods for the early detection of immunothrombosis within a living organism. Now, researchers have developed a novel technology to diagnose immunothrombosis by measuring thrombin activity via breath gas analysis.

Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital (Boston, MA, USA) have engineered hyperbranched polymeric nanoprobes, encompassing regions that are sensitive to thrombin and are bound to reporter molecules which can reach a gaseous state upon being released. In animals afflicted with immunothrombosis, thrombin in microvessels triggers the release of these volatile reporters which are subsequently exhaled through the lungs. Gas biopsies, obtained from exhaled breath samples, were subjected to analysis using gas chromatography mass spectrometry, enabling the determination of intravascular thrombin activity. These findings serve as the foundation for potential clinical application of the novel technology.

"Early diagnosis of immunothrombosis and intervention could prevent organ failure in patients with sepsis or severe COVID-19," said Ali Hafezi-Moghadam, MD, Ph.D., who led the study. "Our technology provides unprecedented knowledge of key enzymatic activity anywhere in the body. Such real-time measurement has the potential to improve personalized and precision treatments and save lives."

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