university of leeds
Disease diagnosis in just 15 minutes?
November 18, 2008 11:20am CST
Testing for diseases such as cancer and multiple sclerosis could soon be as simple as using a pregnancy testing kit. A team led by scientists at the University of Leeds has developed a biosensor technology that uses antibodies to detect biomarkers - molecules in the human body which are often a marker for disease – much faster than current testing methods. The technology could be used in doctors’ surgeries for more accurate referral to consultants, and in hospitals for rapid diagnosis. Tests have shown that the biosensors can detect a wide range of analytes (substances being measured), including biomarkers present in prostate and ovarian cancer, stroke, multiple sclerosis, heart disease and fungal infections. The team also believes that the biosensors are versatile enough to test for diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV. The technology was developed through a European collaboration of researchers and commercial partners in a 2.7 million Euro project called ELISHA. The Leeds team are confident their new technology – which provides results in 15 minutes or less - could be developed into a small device the size of a mobile phone into which different sensor chips could be inserted, depending on the disease being tested for. “We’ve designed simple instrumentation to make the biosensors easy to use and understand,” says Dr Millner. “They’ll work in a format similar to the glucose biosensor testing kits that diabetics currently use.” Professor Séamus Higson, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine and Biosciences, Cranfield Health, and one of the partners within the ELISHA programme, says: “The speed of response this technology offers will be of great benefit to early diagnosis and treatment of many diseases, and will permit testing in de-localised environments such as GP’s surgeries.” A spinout company – ELISHA Systems Ltd – has been set up by Dr Gibson, commercial partners Uniscan Instruments Ltd and Technology Translators Ltd to bring the technology to market. Says Dr Gibson: “The analytes used in our research only scratch the surface of the potential applications. We’ve also shown that it can be used in environmental applications, for example to test for herbicides or pesticides in water and antibiotics in milk.” For further information: http://www.leeds.ac.uk/media/press_releases/current/15minutes.htm ELISHA (Electro-Immunointerfaces and Surface Nanobiotechnology: A Heterodoxical Approach) is a Euro 2.7m project funded by the European Union’s Framework 6 Programme. www.immunosensors.com This sounds really amazing! I cannot wait to see it in use!
18 Nov 08
This is amazing news. That device could save a lot of lives and quick treatments for people. Good article. I cannot wait to try it too. It will be handy to prove to my husband also that he does not have illnessess and things he thinks he has when he gets sick. Goodness me. This is excellent news. Thanks for posting it up.
• United States
18 Nov 08
You're welcome. I agree - it could revolutionize the field of medicine! I had not even considered it could be useful for ruling out diseases in people like your husband but you are right. That is a very important use! :) I know I would definitely want to own one for myself as I hate going to the doctor!