Cornell researchers developing drop-of-blood test to detect stroke

Researchers at Cornell University are developing a method to detect stroke in less than 10 minutes using only a drop of blood. Their technique can determine the concentration of the biomarker neuron-specific enolase by measuring the amount of light that the sample produces, at least in animals. Their technique could have other applications and involves enzymes attached to nanoparticles. The idea was inspired by the enzymes that are tethered to the shafts of sperm tails. "Three quarters of stroke patients suffer from ischemic stroke--a blockage of a blood vessel in the brain. In those cases, time is of the essence, because there is a good drug available, but for a successful outcome it has to be given within three or four hours after the onset of symptoms," said researcher and study author Roy Cohen. "By the time someone identifies the symptoms, gets to the hospital, and sits in the emergency room you don't have much time to obtain the full benefit of this drug." Previous research has questioned the wisdom of using only a drop of blood to detect various biomarkers, but even a sample consisting of ten drops of blood would bring about a big improvement in the speed of stroke diagnosis. More