A team of Australian researchers has recently developed a blood test that can directly identify chronic pain. This revolutionary test can identify color changes in the immune cells that are greatly affected by chronic pain. This is the world’s first blood test of this kind and can help doctors diagnose the severity of patients’ pain, who are otherwise unable to communicate it adequately.
Mark Hutchinson, lead author and director at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, University of Adelaide, explains that this recently developed tool gives insight of a patient’s pain. This test allows the diagnosis with greater certainty and can simultaneously guides doctors for a better drug treatment.
As a matter of fact, there are various identifiable molecular changes in our immune cells that are associated with chronic pain. Use of hyperspectral imaging analysis can help easily identify these biomarkers. This implies that a clinician can determine a person’s pain sensitivity or tolerance without hassles; thereby, adjusting the dosage of pain medicines.
Hutchinson explains that this blood test helps in quantifying color of pain, quite literally. The natural color in immune cells is different in case of persistent pain and in a situation where there is no persistent pain. This can help in predicting the severity of pain.
More About This Blood Test
Immune cells do play an important role in modulating the sensation of persistent pain. This has, however, become a new biomarker to identify pain. Hutchinson’s research has opened new doors to find novel painkillers that could suppress this immune-pain response without exclusively targeting the nervous system.
Hutchinson added that they can now start designing novel drugs for newer cellular therapies that will target peripheral immune system to effectively deal with the central nervous system (CNS) pain. This blood test is known as “painHS” and might be rolled out for broad clinical use in around 18 months. Hutchinson says that broader implications of such revolutionary blood test would make things more interesting to the researchers.
He believes that this blood test could assist in diagnosing pain of patients, who are unable to communicate it to the doctors like babies and older patients with dementia. This test might also be helpful in diagnosing pain in animals, which could really revolutionize the domain of veterinary treatment.
He explains that animals can’t communicate their pain to us but now this “Dr. Dolittle”-like test would aid in communicate with the animals and see, if they are experiencing any pain or not.
This research was recently revealed at the Faculty of Pain Medicine (FPM) conference in Sydney. Certainly, this test can revolutionize the medical world and enable doctors to help patients in a much effective way.