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Tracking neutrophil motility patterns could provide early diagnosis of sepsis in patients with major burns

A team of General Hospital (MGH) investigators has identified what may be a biomarker predicting the development of the dangerous systemic infection in patients with serious burns. In their report in the open-access journal PLOS ONE, the researchers describe finding that the motion through a microfluidic device of the called neutrophils is significantly altered two to three days before sepsis develops, a finding that may provide a critically needed method for early diagnosis.

[Neutrophil Motility Reveals Potential Sepsis Biomarker]
The development of sepsis in patients with may be predicted by abnormal motility patterns of white blood cells called neutrophils, measured through the microscopic channels of this device invented by MGH researchers.
Credit: BioMEMS Resource Center,


Caroline Jones, PhD, of the BioMEMS Resource Center in the MGH Department of Surgery, is lead author of the PLOS ONE paper. Additional co-authors are Molly Moore, Laurie Dimisko, Andrew Alexander, Amir Ibrahim, Bryan Hassell, Ronald Tompkins, ScD, MD, and Shawn Fagan, MD, MGH Surgery; and H. Shaw Warren, MD, MGH Department of Pediatrics. Support for the study includes National Institutes of Health grants GM092804, EB002503 and GM007035. Several patents relating to the technology in the device described in this paper have been issued or applied for.

Massachusetts General Hospital