Allergy is among the most common chronic diseases worldwide. Up to 20% of patients with allergies live with a severe debilitating form of their condition, and struggle daily with the fear of a possible asthma attack, anaphylactic shock, or even death from an allergic reaction (EAACI, 2016). Current tests to diagnose allergy such as the skin prick test and the IgE blood tests, indicate sensitisation to allergens, but not necessarily an allergic response. These tests are in the majority of cases not indicative of an actual allergy.
Market reports show the Allergy Diagnostics Market is anticipated to reach over $8.6 billion by 2026. In general, a molecule-based diagnostic test gives information on sensitization but not allergic reactions. There is a great need for new diagnostic solutions to replace inaccurate methods.
Researchers from the University of Bremen, supported by colleagues at the Medical University of Vienna, have developed a method and system that can directly diagnose allergies by visualising part of the allergic response (degranulation) from a blood sample. The system consists of a disposable microfluidic chip and a holography reader. With the ability to be used by more than 150 allergens this test will
enable patients to be better informed about their allergy status and enable doctors to provide the best suited treatment in a timely fashion.
A third generation chip has been developed which will be tested with patients’ blood samples material.
Meet the team
Dr. Sander van den Driesche
Dr. Christine Hafner
Dr. Claas Falldorf
Prof. Heimo Breteneder
Prof. Michael Vellekoop