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Logical injury assessment
12 July 2010
With the aim of improving the survival rate of injured soldiers, US Scientists have designed a biocomputing system that is capable of diagnosing multiple injuries from a sample of urine or blood.
Explosions on battlefields can result in patients with multiple injuries that need quick diagnosis. Currently, this is done by physical examination and a comprehensive series of laboratory tests in hospital. When an organ is injured, the body releases chemicals that can be used as biomarkers to indicate particular internal injuries. Multiple injuries release a wide range of biomarkers and now a team led by Evgeny Katz from Clarkson University, and Joseph Wang at the University of California San Diego, have developed a diagnostic tool that can be used in the field and is able to differentiate between many chemical inputs to provide a diagnosis.
The system comprises six logic gates made from enzymes that are sensitive to twelve biomarker inputs associated with six different pathological conditions, including soft tissue injury, abdominal trauma and brain injury. The enzyme gates each produce a logic output (1 or 0), which together form a 6-bit 'injury code', that allows full diagnosis of the patient's condition.
Trauma on the battlefield can lead to patients with multiple injuries
Katz says the use of biocomputing, or biomolecular chemical reactions, instead of electronic computers, simplifies the analysis so it can be performed in field conditions. He adds that 'this is the first fundamental result for the use of biocomputing systems for biomedical applications.'
AP de Silva, an expert in molecular sensor technology at Queen's University Belfast in the UK, comments, 'multiplexing several enzyme gates to develop injury codes builds on previous applications of molecular logic in diagnosing electrolyte abnormalities and TB infection.'
The team now intends to develop their work further for other biomedical applications and hope to develop on-body sensors.
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Link to journal article
Multiplexing of injury codes for the parallel operation of enzyme logic gates
Jan Halámek, Joshua Ray Windmiller, Jian Zhou, Min-Chieh Chuang, Padmanabhan Santhosh, Guinevere Strack, Mary A. Arugula, Soujanya Chinnapareddy, Vera Bocharova, Joseph Wang and Evgeny Katz, Analyst, 2010, 135, 2249
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