Nutrition: finding intolerances in the blood

Interview with Dr Florian Eckhardt, CEO, DST - Diagnostische Systeme & Technologien GmbH

More and more people suffer from allergies and food intolerances. Laboratory diagnosis for these often takes long and can be inaccurate. Healthcare practitioners increasingly rely on point-of-care tests to avoid costly laboratory tests and quickly find solutions for their patients.


Photo: Man with short brown hair and suit - Dr. Florian Eckhardt; Copyright: private

Dr. Florian Eckhardt; ©private

In our interview, Dr Florian Eckhardt talks about the state of the art in allergy testing, the use of point-of-care-tests and MEDICA 2015.

Dr Eckhardt, what is the state of the art for Allergy tests?

Florian Eckhardt: Allergy and food intolerance testing are rapidly evolving diagnostics that address the needs of a growing trend worldwide of patients with allergies and food intolerances. The current state of the art allergy testing includes various manual and automatized approaches with increasing focus on customized allergy testing panels that are specific to different parts of the world. In addition, micro-fluidics based rapid point-of-care tests for aiding healthcare practitioners to diagnose during consultation and multiplexing based laboratory tests for testing with low volumes of patient samples are increasingly used in diagnostic routine as well.
Photo: Small POC test kit for blood samples; Copyright: beta-web/Spelleken

The NutriSMART test kit for food intolerances at MEDICA 2015; ©beta-web/Spelleken

What are the challenges in the diagnoses of food intolerances? What importance has lab diagnostics in this?

Eckhardt: Symptoms of food intolerance can be multifaceted and appear within a few hours or even days after consumption of the food. This makes it difficult for the healthcare practitioners and the patient to identify the food or foods responsible for the symptoms. Current laboratory diagnostics for food intolerances are limited and are not ubiquitous. The patient and the doctor have to wait for up to a week to receive the results of the tests, which makes it difficult to identify the foods responsible for a few temporary food intolerance symptoms. There is a need for a quick diagnostic tool that can identity the food or the foods causing the adverse reaction and aid the healthcare practitioner to consider therapeutic options, for example an elimination diet for one or two months, to alleviate the patient's symptoms. Our point-of-care test NutriSMART that tests for 57 foods using few drops of capillary blood within 30 minutes is an ideal product to cater to the increasing needs in food intolerance testing.

You presented NutriSMART at MEDICA 2015. Why there?

Eckhardt: MEDICA is the biggest medical diagnostic industry fair in the world and provides the best platform for small companies likes ours to promote and launch our products. With thousands of delegates from all around the world, MEDICA is a great opportunity to introduce NutriSMART to distributors and business partners.
Photo: Timo Roth; Copyright: B. Frommann

© B. Frommann

The interview was conducted by Timo Roth.