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Rapid POC Sensing Kit to Determine Gut Health from Blood Serum and Stool Samples

By LabMedica International staff writers
Posted on 19 Apr 2023
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Image: Indole-3-propionic acid has emerged as an emerging indicator of gut health (Photo courtesy of Freepik)
Image: Indole-3-propionic acid has emerged as an emerging indicator of gut health (Photo courtesy of Freepik)

Digestive disorders represent a significant health burden in our society, with chronic gut inflammation and microbial imbalances playing a critical role in obesity, cardio-metabolic diseases, premature aging, and cancer. Indole-3-propionic acid (IPA), a small metabolite generated by human gut bacteria, has emerged as a vital marker of gut health due to its regulation of the gut's immune response and suppression of excessive inflammation. Patients experiencing active gut inflammation exhibit reduced IPA levels, while recovery from inflammation leads to a restoration of IPA concentrations. Now, researchers are developing the first-ever sensor for the instant detection of IPA in blood serum and stool samples.

A research team from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART, Singapore) plans to use portable spectrometers previously developed by SMART's Disruptive & Sustainable Technologies for Agricultural Precision (DiSTAP) for other biological applications like non-invasive plant health monitoring, to quickly measure IPA levels in blood or stool samples. This advancement will streamline the testing process since traditional IPA analysis involves conventional mass spectrometry-based methods and specialized laboratory equipment.

“Nutrition, microbiome and anti-inflammatory approaches have received great attention in recent years and are hailed as some of the most promising research areas that will address the country’s healthcare challenges,” said Dr. Mervin Chun-Yi Ang, SMART DiSTAP Associate Scientific Director. “Building on SMART DiSTAP’s success in customising portable spectrometers for different agricultural applications, we are excited to further develop these tools and see how they can be also applied to healthcare and medicine.”

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