Accurate quantification of blood alcohol in emergency rooms (ERs) is an important screening step for a precise diagnosis and hence for prompt treatment. Some severe emergencies such as traumatic head injury, diabetes, and stroke can be misdiagnosed as alcohol intoxication. A reliable measurement of blood-alcohol would improve diagnosis in these cases. Intelligent Optical Systems proposes to develop a non-invasive sensor for alcohol for emergency room (ER) applications, based on emission lifetime measurements of a ruthenium-based complex. The sensor design will be suitable for situations in which patient interaction and cooperation is not required or is not available. The objective is a simple optical detection platform with high accuracy in blood alcohol measurements, leading to fast, yet adequate treatment. Such a system can be expected to have widespread application for clinical assays in many health care settings, for screening alcohol intake, and for monitoring treatment efficiency. The ruthenium-based complex will be covalently attached to a porous glass matrix. As the saliva sampling occurs, alcohol molecules will interact with bound ruthenium indicator and cause emission quenching. Detection by means of emission measurements will be enhanced by using a highly stable fluorescent ruthenium complex. Phase I will focus on demonstrating the feasibility of achieving reproducible, sensitive measurements of alcohol levels in buffer and modeled saliva. Human saliva samples will be tested and compared to blood levels, through our collaboration with Prof. Robert Woolard of Texas Tech University Health Science Center's Emergency Medicine Department. Prof. Woolard is a recognized expert in alcohol chemical and ER-related studies. Phase II will demonstrate sensor sensitivity and reliability in real saliva samples to validate detection accuracy meeting ER requirements. The final commercial product will address markets such as health care diagnostics, homeland security, and clinical monitoring. The system will have the capability to be extended to testing for drugs of abuse with future additional research funding that will cover multiple testing criteria in ER applications.
Intelligent Optical Systems proposes to develop a new technique for saliva-alcohol measurements in emergency rooms. The detector will have the measurement accuracy required in emergency rooms without the need for active patient interaction, and will therefore contribute to quick diagnosis and appropriate treatment.