Full steam ahead for dye to track drug

Scientists in Yorkshire have developed a new dye to quickly measure levels of a key drug in patients in an advance they say will help surgeons carrying out complex procedures in the operating theatre.

Due to the speed and colour of the dye which checks levels of the anti-blood clotting drug heparin in the blood, experts from York University have named it Mallard Blue after the locomotive which holds the world speed record for a steam engine and is now preserved at the National Railway Museum in the city.

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Prof Dave Smith, from York’s chemistry department, who led the research, said: “Our dye is the same colour as the locomotive and we believe it is similarly ground-breaking in its performance.”

The next stage of the work will involve incorporating the dye in a new device for simple bedside read-outs of levels of heparin.

The drug is an important anti-coagulant treatment which has a significant role for patients undergoing in surgery.