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Using a Cell's own elctrical properties to diagnose?

Using a cell's own electrical properties to count the number of white blood cells
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The premise of this idea is based on the overall negative charge of all cellular membranes (net charge is negative even when considering surface proteins and glycolipid extensions) from the membrane phosphate heads. When these cells are accelerated at high velocities, they will each create a magnetic field detectable using a sensitive magnometer. Using the pump mechanism from a flow cytometer, cells can be lined in single file and accelerated at extremely high velocities so their magnetic fields are detectable. The exact measuring device would be based on a coiled-ammeter apparatus wide enough to fit around the acceleration tube. Once the cells are accelerated, the coils should immediately pick up the magnetic field and translate it as current. A direct application of this idea is in detecting leukemia. Current methods of leukemia detection are based on White Blood Cell Counts. This method is efficient, but time consuming, requiring at least 30 min. for one blood sample. Using the magnetic field method, a white blood cell (centrifuged) count can be defined by the magnitude of the magnetic field for the particular volume of sample. A database of reference magnitudes and number of cells would be used to determine the number of cells in the sample. This system is advantageous in that timing is minimized and user labor is dependent only on computer and magnitude analysis; simpler and probably more efficient than current methods.
GogolC, Sep 22 2005

National Human Genome Research Institute http://www.genome.gov/15015202
Advanced Sequencing Technology Awards 2005 [skinflaps, Sep 23 2005]


       If lining cells up single file and spinning them at a rapid rate is not a challenge, would it not be easier to use size alone to separate cells in a way to measure their constituent volume?
reensure, Sep 22 2005

       come to think of it, i don't think you'd need to have cells move in a single file manner. I guess this idea can be applied to cell membrane damage caused by ionizing radiation. Take a sample of cells that was damaged by radiation, and see the magnitude of their magnetic fields. Each magnetic field would be indicative of a dosage of radiation received
GogolC, Sep 22 2005

       I am giving this a bun because it is a nifty hybrid of technologies, not because it would be particularly useful for leukemia. [Gogol], if you are playing with a flow cytometer, you know that it can tell you about the shape, size, refractivity and other info about a cell. A 1% population of leukemic cells can be distinguished from the other 99% normal white cells: this is what flow is for.   

       I am not aware of anything using flow to sort cells, then analyzing them based on charge. I think that this might be more useful for some other endeavor where charge is more important: for example, it seemed to me that flow could be used to sort out dust from space for ordinary earth dust: perhaps charge would be a difference one might use to distinguish them.   

       Welcome to the Halfbakery!   

       btw: I do not think ionizing radiation would change the intrinsic electrical charge on a cell.
bungston, Sep 23 2005

       hehe...yea....radiation was really a "think-before-you speak" kinda things
GogolC, Sep 23 2005

       Denatured DNA could be spun like that to create a magnetic field and read by your ammeter. Perhaps sequencing could be sped along by this process.   

       Maybe you could devise a way to make the DNA nanothreads stiff enough to weave into nanomesh screens.
reensure, Sep 23 2005

       sequencing sounds cool using this method. Do you mean like each sequence has aunique field?
GogolC, Sep 23 2005


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