May 26, 2010

A New Method of Allergy Testing (Multi-Array Chip Technology)

A MIT researcher has developed a new and possibly more accurate blood test for allergies using multi-array chip technology. The paper is titled "Multidimensional analysis of the frequencies and rates of cytokine secretion from single cells by quantitative microengraving" and is published in the journal Lab on a Chip.

This chip technology uses a microscopic engraving process to create thousands to millions of tiny wells (or multi-array) on a chip where a different "blood test" can occur in each well. An overly simplified explanation of how testing occurs is as follows:

Inside each well, the chip manufacturer can place a different type of food or pollen protein such as milk or cat dander. A blood sample placed into the well will than allow allergic cells to "react" with the protein. If the cell (and therefore the person) is sensitized to the protein, the cell will release chemicals called cytokines that can be measured.

Given there are thousands to millions of wells, all of them microscopic in size, only a small amount of blood can be used to test for a whole array of food and pollen allergies.

Read the actual research here.

Unfortunately, our office does not utilize this innovative technology... yet... to test people for allergies. We use RAST. Using the results obtained, we are able to provide allergy shots or allergy drops.
Fauquier blog
Fauquier ENT

Dr. Christopher Chang is a private practice otolaryngology, head & neck surgeon specializing in the treatment of problems related to the ear, nose, and throat. Located in Warrenton, VA about 45 minutes west of Washington DC, he also provides inhalant allergy testing/treatment, hearing tests, and dispenses hearing aids.

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