Markers of disease are typically molecules that are identified using chemical testing, but there are limitations when the severity of the disease is closely related to its physical characteristics. Sickle cell disease becomes more acute due to increased vaso-occlusive events that are physical, not chemical, in nature.
To quantify the severity of sickle cell disease, researchers from Harvard and MIT developed a microfluidic device that does this “by measuring a biophysical parameter that quantifies the rate of change of the resistance to flow after a sudden deoxygenation event.”
Abstract in Science Translational Medicine: A Biophysical Indicator of Vaso-occlusive Risk in Sickle Cell Disease
(hat tip: MassHighTech)