Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), also known as chronic kidney failure, describes the gradual loss of kidney function due to various reasons. In its early stages, CKD displays symptoms like loss of appetite, itching and high blood pressure. It may not become evident until kidney function become significantly impaired, proving fatal.
A few diagnostic tests from blood samples and urine samples and further tests from screening to imaging can nail down CKD. But with blood tests and urine tests, doctors cannot be specific, as the tests only prove effective when the kidney function comes down by 50%. By this time, patients would have lost crucial time.
Researchers from CSIR’s (Council of Scientific and Industrial Research), New Delhi-based Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (IGIB) and Amity University, Rajasthan have now devised a special “sensor” that can detect CKD in a matter of minutes.
The technique uses a highly sensitive electrochemical technique, which can be used to detect different stages of the disease. The researchers modified a multi-walled carbon nanotube electrode that will catch the biomarker of CKD–Cystatin C.
It has made the detection of the protein Cystatin C easier, enabling doctors to detect kidney troubles in patients much more easily.
(Note: Cystatin C is a protein produced by the cells of the human body. When its production increases normal levels, it indicates problems in the kidney.)
Dr Manali Datta, a Researcher at the Amity University, led the study. She told India Science Wire, “This technique could detect Cystatin C concentrations corresponding to baseline as well as different stages of CKD. Specificity of the sensor was tested against creatinine, albumin, and gliadin and was found to be highly specific for Cystatin C.”
Previously, in urine tests, the number of creatinine compounds and albumin were combinedly used to detect CKD. But these compounds depended on various factors like age, sex, previous ailments, muscle mass, etc. But cystatin C is less dependent on these factors.
“The sensor was tested with spiked samples of urine and was found to give a good accuracy rate. It has been tested in varying pH levels and is able to detect as low as six micrograms of CKD specific marker per litre of urine,” added Dr Datta.
With patients suffering from diabetes and cardiovascular disease being prone to CKD, the new method could potentially be a boon to millions.
“If CKD is detected at an early stage (Stage 1 or 2), mere modifications in diet and intake of ACE inhibitors may prevent the progression to end-stage renal disease,” said Dr Datta.
It’s also interesting to note that Cystatin C also is being studied for its role in predicting onset or deterioration of cardiovascular disease and brain disorders.
This study was published in a recent issue of the Biosensors and Bioelectronics journal.
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)
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