Government grant to speed low cost disease detection -

Government grant to speed low cost disease detection


LONDON — Akubio has received £826,000 Government grant to help develop a portable and low cost, rapid response disease diagnosis device, which could help doctors make instant and accurate diagnoses for diseases such as malaria and meningitis.

A £1.65million development program, which will run over the next three years, is part-funded by a collaborative R&D grant under the Department of Trade and Industry's Technology Programme.

The device being developed by Akubio (Cambridge, England) is substantially different from other diagnostic devices currently on the market which require the addition of expensive chemicals to a sample to enable disease detection. The new device uses the quartz crystal element from a wristwatch and can be powered by standard batteries and could enable doctors to make instant, accurate, at-the-bedside or in-the-field medical diagnoses from blood or other samples.

The device's sensor detects specific molecules within a sample, using miniaturised echo sounder acoustic technology to determine the presence of marker proteins for a particular disease or disease causing pathogens such as bacteria or viruses including avian influenza, meningitis, E.coli, malaria, heart attack, stroke and some cancers.

“Building on our first commercial product, RAP(id 4, this funding will accelerate our development programme for the portable device and its companion products. Our work is a proprietary application combining the very latest in nanotechnology with the mass-produced quartz crystal resonator that is used in everyday appliances,” said Dr Matthew Cooper, Akubio's chief scientist.

Akubio's development partners are the University of Cambridge and Reagent Mine Ltd. (Melton Mowbray, England).

The project aims to develop biosensor chips and hardware for real-time healthcare monitoring (i.e. rapid clinical in vitro diagnosis and efficient blood screening) and for environmental monitoring. It will bring together three technologies: Reagent Mine's pre-concentration of analytes from complex biological samples on magnetic beads and nanoparticles, Cambridge University's novel polymeric biocompatible surface coatings, and Akubio's acoustic detection methodology.

An integrated magnetic pre-concentration module will be fabricated for use in Akubio's desktop instrumentation.

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