Researchers at Georgia State University report that infrared technology may offer a new, cost-effective, minimally invasive way to screen for ulcerative colitis, a debilitating disorder of the gastrointestinal tract. The new approach offers an alternative to biopsies and intrusive testing for the condition. Using a technology called Attenuated Total Reflectance Fourier Transform Infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, the new approach tests serum separated from clotted blood for the presence of mannose, a sugar that is a marker for colitis. ATR-FTIR responds to vibrations in the molecular chemical bonds of the serum, and requires minimal sample preparation, according to the research team. Coauthor A. G. Unil Perera, PhD, said, “We found that ATR-FTIR spectroscopy is an effective tool for detecting colitis in the serum of mice. Perhaps this technology could be integrated into a portable device, such as the glucometer used by patients with diabetes.” The research is published in Journal of Biophotonics.
Ulcerative colitis is one of several inflammatory bowel diseases that can lead to colorectal cancer and other potentially fatal complications. Clinical diagnosis typically involves a colonoscopy, an expensive, invasive technique that also requires sedation. In search of a better diagnostic tool, the team induced 2 different forms of colitis in groups of mice that closely resembled chronic colitis and ulcerative colitis experienced by humans. Using the ATR-FTIR spectroscopy, and comparing the results to a control group, the researchers were able to detect significant increases in mannose levels in the treated groups.
Read more about ulcerative colitis here.
A news report about the screening advance may be read here.
The journal abstract may be read here.