The biomarkers of red blood cell health from Detroit-based Functional Fluidics can help define and predict acute pain crises in individuals with sickle cell disease (SCD), according to a recent study. This result is among the key findings from the Evaluation of Longitudinal Pain Study in Sickle Cell Disease (ELIPSIS) study and addresses a tremendous need for well-validated biomarkers to objectively monitor red blood cell health in individuals with sickle cell disease.1

Key findings about the Functional Fluidics biomarkers: 

  • Differentiate healthy vs sick: Functional Fluidics RBC health assays (Flow adhesion of whole blood to P-Selectin and VCAM) can be used to differentiate the healthy state from the acute crises state in individuals with sickle cell disease. 
  • Risk stratify those at risk for acute pain: Functional Fluidics RBC health assays (Flow adhesion of whole blood to P-selectin) can be used as prognostic or susceptibility biomarkers that stratify patients at their steady state based on their risk for developing acute pain crises. 
  • Define mechanism of acute pain crises: Functional Fluidics RBC health assays can be diagnostic biomarkers of adhesion-associated acute pain crises.
Patrick Hines, MD, PhD, Functional Fluidics.

“This is a very important study that provides biologic evidence to validate self-reported pain in individuals with sickle cell disease,” says Patrick Hines, MD, PhD, CEO and Founder of Functional Fluidics. “This represents a major step in making the most innovative biomarkers available to providers caring for patients with sickle cell disease. Ultimately, we hope these biomarkers can serve as surrogate endpoints that give providers the tools to keep people healthy as opposed to intervening during a crisis. This allows us to develop better SCD-modifying therapies, and to better assess the efficacy of these therapies in clinical trials using objective biomarker endpoints to assess the improvement in patient function and health.”

For more information, visit Functional Fluidics.


1. Pittman D, Hines PC, Roger Beidler D, et al. Evaluation of longitudinal pain study in sickle cell disease (ELIPSIS) by electronic patient-reported outcomes, actigraphy, and biomarkers. Blood. Epub October 16, 2020. doi: 10.1182/blood.2020006020.

Featured image: Red blood cells of a patient with sickle cell anemia under the microscope. Image © Ivanmattioli, courtesy Dreamstime (ID 157748785).