More Accurate Allergy Test Sought

BOSTON, May 25 (UPI) — A U.S. chemical engineer says he is developing a more accurate test for allergic reactions.

Christopher Love of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology says taking a blood test and screening individual immune cells allows for more precise testing for allergens such as peanuts or milk.

An article about Love’s new technology, published in the journal Lab on a Chip, explains how his system screens the patient’s immune cells for small proteins known as cytokines — produced by T-cells at the onset of an allergic response.

Currently, Love notes, skin and blood tests look for antibodies. However, antibody tests tend to produce many false-positive results.

“With a large number of diagnoses, it’s ambiguous,” Love says in a statement. “A lot of times it’s almost circumstantial whether you’re allergic to one thing or another.”

Love says almost 30 percent of Americans believe they have food allergies, but a recent study by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found the number of people with allergies is actually closer to 5 percent.

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