A Drop of Blood for Proper Immune Function




The experts of the Faculty of Pharmacy, University of Pécs (UP) achieved a breakthrough in the field of immunological studies with their work at the Szentágothai János Research Centre (SzKK/ SzRC). They have recently worked on the development of a platform that represents a significant step forward in health diagnostics, especially in the field of early screening tests. Together with Thermo Fisher, UP has developed a measurement method that can determine complete immune status from a single drop of blood dried on paper within 24 hours.

Testing the immune system is vital for the prevention and treatment of various diseases, but the methods available now are costly and complicated, making it difficult to reliably assess the state of the immune system.

Thanks to the recently developed procedure, it is now possible to determine with absolute certainty how well the immune system of the examined patients works. 

With the help of the platform, experts from the SzRC are able to detect and evaluate by-products of the development of B cells from the bone marrow and T cells from the thymus, even from a drop of dried blood.

The AbsoluteQ equipment provided by the biotech company Thermo Fisher and the innovative technology now being developed allow specialists to quickly and reliably determine whether someone has a congenital or acquired immunodeficiency. This is especially important because , although rare, newborns can have severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) and early detection is essential to protect affected children, as this condition can be fatal. But this test can also be very useful for monitoring the health of elite athletes and immunosuppressed patients (e.g. organ transplant recipients, certain cancer patients, people with HIV).

The development, which won the UP Innovation Award, provides an opportunity for specialists to establish a neonatal diagnostic center in a laboratory specializing in immunological measurements. This examination is not yet mandatory in Hungary, but many European countries have already recognized that it is essential for the protection of children. Thus, steps have begun in Hungary to make the study available to anyone, even if not yet in a subsidized form.