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U of Illinois researcher developing fast, inexpensive stain-free blood test

By David Schwartz
Published: August 21st, 2013

A University of Illinois researcher is developing a cheaper, faster blood test that avoids the common yet lengthy process of staining. “Diagnosis without stains hasn’t been done before,” says researcher Gabriel Popescu. “With this method, we think we can help provide an unbiased view of the diagnosis.”

Staining is used to enhance contrast in the microscopic image. It can be a lengthy process, and according to Popescu, it compromises the sensitivity and resolution of the image. His goal is to produce a test without staining that costs less than $100, can be used in the field, and can provide quicker, more quantitative data such as individual cell disorders. He also aims to use the test for early detection of tumors and other cell deviations.

“Right now the way a blood test is done, you run it through a machine and if something is grossly wrong, it flags it and the human pathologist comes in and looks at it. We have this information much earlier.”

Popescu has developed a start-up called Phi Optics to help move his technology toward commercialization. The start-up now operates out of the University of Illinois Research Park.

Source: Engineering at Illinois

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