Toray Industries, Inc., announced today that it has developed an allergy testing biochip (see Glossary note 1) that can simultaneously measure multiple allergen-specific immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies (see Glossary note 2) from trace amounts of blood. This breakthrough should help reduce stress on children and others whose blood is difficult to draw and enhance the accuracy of allergy diagnostics. Toray aims to undertake large-scale verifications of the specimens of allergy sufferers and swiftly apply for in-vitro diagnostic certification.
Food, pollen, and other allergies afflict half of Japan’s population. Incidence rates are rising, particularly among infants and young adults. Infants often have multiple allergies. It is common in medicine to identify such ailments by using in vitro diagnostic products that measure allergen-specific IgE antibody levels in the blood. An issue with simultaneously measuring allergen-specific IgE antibodies from small blood samples to alleviate stress has been that proteins, cells, and other contaminants in the blood impede accurate measurements.
Toray was able to attain high precision from measurements with small samples by combining the microarray technology of 3D-Gene®, a highly sensitive DNA chip that can simultaneously detect multiple genes, and a low-fouling polymer technology to prevent blood component adhesion that the company created in developing artificial kidneys for hemodialysis patients. In-house verification testing confirmed that Toray’s product, which simultaneously measures multiple allergy items from 20 microliters of blood, has a quantitative correlation exceeding 95% with existing in-vitro diagnostic products that measure single items.
1. Biochips are made of substrates on which DNA, proteins, sugar chains, and other bio-molecules are fixed to detect substances that interact specifically with these bio-molecules. Allergy testing biochips have allergens (proteins) on their substrate to detect allergen-specific IgE antibodies.
2. Allergen-specific IgE antibodies bind to allergens and cause allergic symptoms and are thus biomarkers for allergic ailments. Blood antibody measurements aim to identify causative allergens and select effective therapies.