Rapid Diagnostic Test for Ulcerative Colitis Developed

Researchers have developed a fast, simple, and minimally invasive screening test for ulcerative colitis that uses infrared technology.

A fast, simple, and minimally invasive screening test for ulcerative colitis that uses infrared technology has been developed, according to findings published in the Journal of Biophotonics.

Researchers from Georgia State University detailed a cost effective technique for screening for ulcerative colitis by testing the serum using Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR FTIR) spectroscopy for the colitis induced increase presence of a sugar known as mannose. When the serum is separated from clotted blood, the sugar can be detected.

The researchers explained that this technology is sensitive to vibrations in the chemical bonds of the molecules in the serum samples. Plus, they said, there is minimal sample preparation which increases the speed of the test.

“We found that ATR FTIR spectroscopy is an effective tool for detecting colitis in the serum of mice,” researcher Unil Perera explained in a press release. “This rapid, simple, cost effective and minimally invasive technique could be further developed into a personalized diagnostic tool that would assess disease status based on an individual’s molecular composition and allow for personalized diagnosis and drug management.”

Current tests for ulcerative colitis and other inflammatory bowel diseases include colonoscopy. The study authors said in the statement that colonoscopies are not the ideal test for ulcerative colitis because it’s expensive, invasive, requires sedation and is not practical for annual checkups or monitoring the disease.

For the study, the researchers tested mice with ulcerative colitis using ATR FTIR spectroscopy. The first group of two mice cohorts had targeted deletion of IL 10, which caused the mice to develop ulcerative colitis in the first place. The remaining mice were induced by administering dextran sodium sulphate, the researchers said. The researchers tested blood and stool samples from the mice and learned that the ATR FTIR spectroscopy was effective for diagnosis based on the mannose content in the serum.

“Perhaps this technology could be integrated into a portable device, such as the glucometer used by patients with diabetes,” Perera added. The research team filed a provisional patent for their screening technique, the statement concluded.