Researchers at IIT Mandi have developed a novel system that can detect early signs of kidney damage by measuring even low levels of a protein marker in urine and blood samples. The test, which detects the presence of a protein albumin in urine and blood, can serve as an early indicator of various health disorders such as renal dysfunction as well as diseases that result from diabetes.
At present, dipstick tests are available in the market to detect albumin in urine. However, analysing microalbuminuria — a condition in which kidney leaks small amounts of albumin into the urine — and other nephritic disorders in their early stages is difficult using these tests.
“The urine dipsticks available in the market can correctly estimate albumin concentration in urine up to 30 microgrammes per decilitre (mg/dL), whereas with our technique one can measure levels as low as 3.3 mg/dL,” Shubhajit Roy Chowdhury, an assistant professor at Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi.
The system compromises of a chamber that accepts urine or blood serum and a florescent dye. “The dye, which we developed at IIT Mandi, binds with the albumin molecules in the urine. This composite then absorbs near infra-red (NIR) radiation of 740 nanometre wavelength, and emits radiation at 806 nanometre wavelength,” Roy Chowdhury said.