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Loughborough University. (9/15/16). "Press Release: Loughborough Researchers Develop Simple Saliva Test to Diagnose Asthma".
A new test which can diagnose asthma from a patient’s saliva has been developed by Loughborough University.
Around 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma in the UK, of which 1.1 million are children.
To diagnose the condition doctors usually measure a person’s airflow lung capacity, however lung function tests can be inaccurate and do not reflect underlying changes associated with asthma. Other tests, such as blood, urine or sputum analysis can be distressing, particularly for younger patients.
The new test, developed in collaboration with Nottingham City Hospital, is completely painless and offers a one-stop diagnosis suitable for people of all ages.
To develop the test the research team, led by Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry and Dr Dominick Shaw from the Respiratory Research Unit at City Hospital, collected saliva from patients with asthma and healthy individuals. They then performed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis on the samples to find so-called metabolic biomarkers.
By detecting the presence and amount of these ‘metabolic biomarkers’ the new test can diagnose asthma. It also has the potential to pinpoint the severity and progression of the disease.
“Unlike other sampling methods, such as expired breath analysis, saliva can be collected by passive drool from the very young to the very old without causing distress,” explains Professor Creaser.
“We were therefore interested to know if techniques for metabolic profiling of saliva to identify physiological stress from exercise – developed by Loughborough – could be applied to asthma diagnosis.
“We were very excited to discover that they could.”
Before the new test can move to a clinical setting the diagnostic metabolic biomarkers identified need to be validated in further longitudinal studies.
If this is successful, the approach could be used in early asthma diagnosis as well as part of the ongoing monitoring of patients.
The research has been published in the journal Analytical Methods and can be viewed here.
Notes for editors
Press release reference number: PR 16/127
Loughborough University is equipped with a live in-house broadcast unit via the Globelynx network. To arrange an interview with one of our experts please contact the press office on 01509 223491. Bookings can be made online via www.globelynx.com
Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.
It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, putting it among the best universities in the world, and was named the best in the country for its student experience in the 2016 THE Student Experience Survey. Loughborough was ranked 4th in the Guardian University League Table 2017 and 7th in The UK Complete University Guide 2017 and was also named University of the Year in the In the What Uni Student Choice Awards 2015.
Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.
In September 2015 the University opened an additional academic campus in London’s new innovation quarter. Loughborough University London, based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities.
Date of issue
15 September 2016
Health and medicine
Telephone: 01509 228697
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Record changed: 2016-12-09
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