15 Sep 2016
Loughborough research develops simple saliva test to diagnose asthma
A new test which can diagnose asthma from a patient’s saliva has been developed by Loughborough University.
Around 5.4 million people currently receive treatment for asthma in the UK, of which 1.1 million are children.
To diagnose the condition doctors usually measure a person’s airflow lung capacity, however lung function tests can be inaccurate and do not reflect underlying changes associated with asthma. Other tests, such as blood, urine or sputum analysis can be distressing, particularly for younger patients.
The new test, developed in collaboration with Nottingham City Hospital, is completely painless and offers a one-stop diagnosis suitable for people of all ages.
To develop the test the research team, led by Professor Colin Creaser from Loughborough’s Department of Chemistry and Dr Dominick Shaw from the Respiratory Research Unit at City Hospital, collected saliva from patients with asthma and healthy individuals. They then performed liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS) analysis on the samples to find so-called metabolic biomarkers.
By detecting the presence and amount of these ‘metabolic biomarkers’ the new test can diagnose asthma. It also has the potential to pinpoint the severity and progression of the disease.
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