Scientists from Pennsylvania State University and Stanford University have announced a breakthrough that could significantly improve the way kidney stones are detected,media reported. They showed a new type of urine test that can give results in 30 minutes. Not only does this ensure a shorter time than the seven to 10 days required for the tests currently in use, but it also makes the testing process cheaper and broader, opening up new and effective ways to detect and manage diseases.
Kidney stones are formed by the accumulation of salts and minerals in the body, which enter the urethra and cause a variety of physical discomfort. Detecting metabolites in the urine that produce these dangerous clots is one of the ways clinicians can capture and block clumps, but the process is expensive and time-consuming.
First, patients need to collect urine over a 24-hour period and send it to the lab for testing. Subsequent testing requires expensive equipment, and typically takes about 7 to 10 days.
In search of more effective solutions, the team took inspiration from the pig cage grass. The leaves of these carnivorous plants are shaped like water tanks, and they trap insects with smooth edges, allowing them to fall into the digester pools inside the plant.
“We can learn a lot from nature and our environment, and our research is an example of how biomedical engineers can make the most of it,” said Pak Kin Wong, a professor of biomedical engineering at Pennsylvania State University and head of the research team.
The team named the naturally inspired device slipS-LAB for smooth liquid injection into porous surfaces. It consists of a smooth, low-friction surface and specially designed geometry that allows urine droplets to glide on top and bind to reactants at the right time speed to trigger the necessary chemical reactions.
The results of the technology can be read by smartphone or scanner with the help of computer algorithms. According to the team, the analysis took about 30 minutes in the doctor’s office. If expensive laboratory equipment is not required, the cost and time of this urine test can be greatly reduced.
“SlipS-LAB’s low cost, speed and simplicity will reduce the barriers to stone risk metabolite analysis by clinicians and patients,” Wong said. “
The study was published in Science Advances.