Team Leuko, an international group collaborating between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and a handful of centers, hospitals, and foundations primarily located in Madrid, Spain, has developed a device that counts patients’ white blood cells in real-time through the skin (i.e., without drawing blood). With the use of this device, patients undergoing chemotherapy will be able to track their immune behavior responsively, much as diabetics can quickly gauge and react to their blood glucose levels.
Three different prototypes of the device exist in various stages of testing and refinement. Each takes advantage of optical sensors and illuminating LEDs to image capillaries through the fingertip at cellular resolution. The device records video of leukocytes, imaged as transparent particles flowing past a miniature lens, which are then processed via onboard automated image analysis algorithms to calculate and report white blood cell concentrations.
Such a device allows for improved monitoring of patient immune health and, in doing so, opens the door for personalized chemotherapy. With on-demand leukocyte counts, treatments can be adapted to maximize patient dosages without immunosuppressing patients to the point of serious infection.
The team expects to complete multiple rounds of clinical testing and iteration of their design in December, 2015. Their current goal is to release an initial beta product in early 2017, with a production device approved by European regulatory bodies aimed at 2019.
Watch one of the project leads, Carlos Castro-González, Ph.D., present the technology at a 2014 demonstration hosted by Leuko’s financier, the Madrid-MIT M+Visión Consortium:
Team Page: Leuko…