Dr Sangeeta Bhatia, a bioengineer and physician at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, has developed a urine test that could help detect blood clots. Impressed by the competence of modern urine testing which can detect a range of conditions, such as diabetes, pregnancy to even breast and brain cancer, Dr Bhatia noticed that one thing it cannot detect is clots attached to the walls of blood vessels.
Blood clots can be dangerous when it is dislodged and travel to the lungs or brains, resulting in pulmonary embolism or stroke. These blood clots are often hard to detect, considering symptoms vary depending on where the clot is located. With the discovery of Dr Bhatia and her team at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the urine test could help detect blood clots even before they become an issue.
Dr Bhatia’s clot detector is not actually detecting the blood clots themselves but the test involves the detection of thrombin, an enzyme that controls the formation of a protein called fibrin that patches up the wounds. In order to carry out the research, the researchers injected mice with iron oxide nanoparticles, which interacts with thrombin and leave behind fragments that can be detected in the urine of the mice.
Since the research works perfectly with mice as the urine of the animals turned orange when tested, Dr Bhatia and her team noted in future, it will applied for humans, particularly people at high risk for blood clot.
To know more about Dr Bhatia’s discovery, read here – Economist