Spit on this chip and call me in the morning….

Home-based diagnostics could potentially become more widespread, allowing people to get a quick heads-up on the presence of disease while at the same time, allowing doctors to prioritize these patients accordingly. For example, we currently have home pregnancy tests which have proven to be very useful for family planning etc…

In the future, the priniciple of using simple tests that people could use at home if they are concerned about the presence of a certain disease could become more wide spread. Depending on the outcome of the test their family physician would more quickly and more efficiently be able to direct them to the appropriate avenue of follow-up.

An interesting paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, suggests that we might be close to realizing this goal. Using a small cartridge capable of “working up” saliva and carrying out a small scale-immunoassay, researchers were able to assay for the presence of MMP-8 (matrix metalloproteinase 8) a protein biomarker of periodontal disease. However, this assay has the potential to provide early diagnosis for a number of diseases beyond the immediate application for detecting periodontitis since there is an established link between periodontal disease and other malladies such as cardiovascular and pulmanary disease as well as the increased risk of premature birth.


2 Responses to “Spit on this chip and call me in the morning….”

  1. Ψ*Ψ Says:


  2. hipster doofus Says:

    Extending this idea a bit further leads to a future where individuals will be able to obtain a complete genetic phenotype profile for themselves and their physicians that will allow them to, for example, select appropriate medicines while avoiding those with adverse side effects for their profile.

    On the other hand, I’m not looking forward to a future where I will be told that I should not eat chocolate cake because of my genetic profile.

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