New probe discovery to unveil lung diseases

Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council

A team of scientists has discovered a hair-sized probe that will measure tissue damage in the lung. Considered as a breakthrough discovery, the probe can reach in areas where previous research in technology could not. Moreover, the probe is reported to deliver accuracy and can examine even the tiniest changes in tissue health in addition to providing constructive care to treat patients on ventilators or the ones in intensive care.

The latest discovery is especially beneficial because lung disease has become one of the leading causes of death and disability. Scientists reveal that although advancements have been made in the field of lung diseases, there still remains a paucity of information while treating lung injury or pneumonia.

The probe comprises of optical fiber, which is about 0.2mm in diameter and contains 19 sensors. These sensors help in monitoring various indicators in tissues that reveal information about the body’s reaction to diseases.  These include acidity and oxygen levels.

The report on the recent discovery was published in Scientific Reports and has been supported by the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). According to reports, the research was also funded by the Proteus consortium, including the Universities of Edinburgh and Bath and Heriot-Watt University.  

“This research is a great example of collaboration across disciplines to tackle healthcare challenges. These new methods, if taken to the clinic, will lead to novel insights in disease biology. Our aim now is to expand the number of unique sensors on this miniaturized platform to provide even more information,” says Dr. Michael Tanner, Proteus Research Fellow at Heriot-Watt University and the University of Edinburgh.

Further improvements suggest of adding more sensors to the technology. Experts report that the new probe can be used in other regions of the body and is designed to monitor bacterial and inflammatory diseases.