How robotic sensors will transform treatment for infertility
[The Week, 2/22/19] Scientists have developed a new robotic sensor technology that can be used to measure hormones which affect fertility, sexual development and menstruation more quickly and cheaply than current methods.
The technology, described in the journal Nature Communications, was tested in patients at Hammersmith Hospital in the UK.
Doctors usually diagnose severe reproductive health problems such as infertility and early menopause by carrying out a blood test to measure the amount of luteinising hormone (LH) in the sample, said researchers at Imperial College London in the UK and The University of Hong Kong.
Current blood tests cannot easily measure the rise and fall of LH levels which is vital for normal fertility—so-called LH pulse patterns that are linked to reproductive disorders.
It is not currently feasible to measure LH pulse patterns in a clinical setting as doctors need to take a blood sample from patients every 10 minutes for at least eight hours.
In addition, the analysis of these samples is time consuming as the blood needs to be sent to a laboratory and testing is expensive.
The researchers behind the trial have used a novel biosensor linked to a robotic system, which they call Robotic APTamer-enabled Electrochemical Reader (RAPTER).
It has the potential to transform the clinical care of patients with reproductive disorders by monitoring the hormone patterns of patients in real-time.
In the study, the prototype RAPTER device was used to measure LH in the blood of patients taken every ten minutes to yield an immediate result………..
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