Type 1 diabetes can be clinically indistinguishable from type 2 diabetes and a definitive diagnosis, using radioimmunoassay, is slow and expensive to perform. Researchers, led by Brian Feldman, from Stanford University, have used nanotechnology to develop a plasmonic gold chip that can diagnose the disease within minutes.
The chip uses near-infrared fluorescence to detect islet cell-targeting autoantibodies in a fingerprick blood sample, and costs just $20 to produce, according to the report in Nature Medicine (online,
When tested in diabetes patients and healthy controls, the chip had high sensitivity and specificity for the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes. It can also be used to discover previously unknown biomarkers of type 1 diabetes, adds Feldman.