Newly developed point-
of-care clinical tests are
faster and more affordable,
bringing heath care to the
Ser ving the
In 1970, total health care spending in the United States was $75 bil- lion. In 2010, it was $2.6 trillion;
and, according to the Centers for
Medicare & Medicaid Services, total
health care spending is expected
to reach $4.8 trillion in 2021. To
put that number in perspective,
health care spending in six years
will account for nearly 20 percent of
gross domestic product (GDP), or
one-fifth of the U.S. economy.
While some of this change can
be directly attributed to politics,
the fact of the matter remains that
healthcare spending has implications for all industries, especially
laboratory research and medicine.
The mantra of the last decade–
both in and out of the laboratory–has been “faster, easier and
less expensive.” Five new tests
introduced at the American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC)
conference held at the end of July
certainly live up to these goals.
Two diabetes tests
Globally, diabetes affects an
estimated 9 percent of adults and
is directly responsible for about 1.5
million deaths each year, according
to the World Health Organization
(WHO). Most of these deaths
occur in low- and middle-income
less access to advanced labs
and clinics. The disease is also a
leading cause of cardiovascular
disease, kidney failure, blindness
and lower limb amputation.
Now, researchers have debuted
two distinct tests that can make
diagnosing and monitoring diabetes
both easier and more affordable.
The first test, developed by a
team of researchers led by Sridevi
Devaraj, director of clinical chemistry at Texas Children’s Hospital,
targets gestational diabetes. This
form of the disease can present in
pregnant women in the third trimester and cause serious, life-threaten-ing complications.
However, the current standard
test–which measures levels of the
biomarker glycated hemoglobin
(HbA1c)–has proven inadequate
for the monitoring of gestational
diabetes since it only measures the
patient’s average glucose blood levels over a period of three months.
It cannot be used to determine
a patient’s blood glucose values
on a daily or weekly basis, which
makes it challenging to apply to the
11-week trimester of a pregnant
Using stored blood samples from
124 pregnant women, Devaraj and
her colleagues measured the levels
of three separate types of proteins.