U of Texas researcher develops first rapid sepsis sensor

A graduate student at the University of Texas at Dallas created a first-of-its-kind rapid sepsis biosensor, which is now awaiting patent approval, according to a recent news release. 

Ambalika Tanak, a biomedical engineering doctoral candidate at the university's Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science, developed the sepsis testing device, called Direct Electrochemical Technique Targeting Sepsis. With a single drop of blood, the portable sensor device monitors a panel of five immune biomarkers and makes a diagnosis within five minutes. 

Ms. Tanak, along with a team of researchers, described the sensor's use in a study published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics Jan. 1.

"When a patient develops sepsis, every organ thinks it needs to shut down to protect itself." said Shalini Prasad, PhD, study co-author and head of the university's bioengineering department. "If we could get a snapshot of a patient's immune response, we can avoid irreversible organ failure or death due to a delayed response time." 

The team is also looking into whether the sepsis sensor platform can be adapted to measure other forms of inflammation, including an increase of the proteins, called cytokines, released by the immune system during early stages of viral infections like COVID-19. 

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