Researchers at MIT have developed a new type of sensor that could make diagnosing sepsis much quicker, easier and more affordable than ever before. This could have a huge potential impact, since sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in hospitals, and is responsible for almost 250,000 patient deaths per year in the U.S. alone.
The method developed by MIT employs microfluidics to detect the presence of key proteins in the blood that act as early warning signs about the onset of sepsis. One in particular, called ‘interleukin-6’ or IL-6, appears hours before any other symptom appears in a patient. Ordinary ‘assay’ or blood test devices aren’t able to pick it up that quickly, however, since despite the fact that it can spike