Image: A paper-based test strip could help people with heart failure know if their condition is worsening (Photo courtesy of the American Chemical Society).
Heart failure can often be managed with medications and lifestyle changes, but its progression needs to be monitored closely to adjust treatment and prevent emergency room visits. Now scientists have developed a simple paper test strip that could potentially allow patients to monitor themselves for the first time.
Antigens ST2 and BNP are good indicators of heart failure and its progression. Currently, analyzing the levels of these biomarkers requires trained personnel and sophisticated lab equipment. The research team, lead by study corresponding authors Prof. Feng Xu and Prof. Min Lin of Xi’an Jiaotong University (Xi’an, Shaanxi, China), devised a simple assay to enable doctors and patients to carry out the same analysis at the office or at home.
The team developed a fluorescent lateral-flow strip platform that requires a blood sample of only 10 microliters. A blue dot glows on the strip if ST2 is present in the sample, and a green dot glows if it contains BNP. The colors’ intensities increase with concentration, which indicates that a person’s heart failure is likely becoming worse. A smartphone app can analyze the readout and send the results to the patient’s doctor, who can adjust treatment accordingly.
Testing 38 serum samples from people with heart failure showed that the paper-based test closely matched conventional techniques.
The study, by You M et al, was published May 8, 2017, in the journal ACS Nano.
Xi’an Jiaotong University