Researchers at Penn State University and Stanford University have proposed a new urine-testing system for people suffering from kidney stones, allowing them to receive results within 30 minutes.
According to Medical Express, metabolic testing of a kidney stone patient's urine to identify metabolites such as minerals and solutes that cause stones to form is key for preventing future ones. This testing is currently done by requiring the patient to collect their urine over a 24-hour period in a large container. The container is then sent to a lab for analysis and the results normally come back in 7 to 10 days.
Pak Kin Wong, professor of biomedical engineering and mechanical engineering and principal investigator on the study, says the urine sample, therefore, has to be shipped to a commercial diagnostic lab for testing. To solve this, the research team developed a biomimetic detection system called slippery liquid-infused porous surface (SLIPS)-LAB.
SLIPS is a dynamic, extremely low-friction smooth surface created by locking lubricating liquids in micro/nanostructured substrates. This is inspired by nepenthes pitcher plants, which are carnivorous plants that have unique leaves shaped like pitchers and are filled with digestive liquid. The plants have evolved extremely slippery liquid-infused micro-textured rims that cause insects to fall into the "pitcher."
The test results can then be read using a scanner or a cell phone, and the scanned image can then be analyzed using a computer algorithm. All these steps would take approximately 30 minutes in a physician's office.