Protein sensor will help ID high-risk heart patients

A new sensor that can track a trio of proteins which are known to spike in the wake of a heart attack promises to give physicians a new and better approach to diagnosing patients and treating their condition.

Building on their earlier work to create sensors that could be used to identify a hormone ginned by cancer cells, an MIT team found that the same approach would work for other molecules as well. And they pushed ahead to test their technology for the cardiovascular field.

This new sensor from MIT, which was tested in mice and reported in Nature Biotechnology, should give clinicians a tool to monitor elevated levels of three key proteins. By tracking protein levels, they may be able to identify which patients are at risk of an attack and order preventive care. The sensor will also help diagnose about 30 percent of heart attack victims who demonstrate no obvious physical symptoms after an event.

"If you go to the ER thinking you've had a heart attack, they take a blood sample and analyze it for these specific proteins," Professor Michael Cima tells HealthCanal.

- here's the story from HealthCanal