Many common diseases currently require that samples be sent to remote labs for diagnosis. This is costly and takes time, increasing patient anxiety and delaying the start of treatment. This project will make it feasible to carry out automatic, accurate diagnosis at the local doctor's office. This will be achieved using bio-marker mRNA detection. Compared to commonly used approaches, mRNA detection avoids false positive results and has a high sensitivity. It can currently be used to detect cancer and a range of respiratory diseases, to mention a few. New bio-markers are developed every day. The partners have already developed prototype technology which partly demonstrates a microsystem operation of the mRNA approach.
The project will build on this, providing the innovation needed to transform a promising technology to an integrated system suitable for practical use at point-of-care:
- Provide support for all stages: cell concentration, lysis, purification, sample collection, reagent mixing, amplification and detection.
-Develop disposable polymer chips for use in the portable instrument, including technology for storing all needed reagents on these chips.
-Develop reliable techniques for multi-channel parallel detection (crucial for recognising disease signatures).
-Address factors such as reliability, usability and cost which are crucial to acceptance by health care professionals.
System accuracy will be validated on the specific case of HPV (the virus causing cervical cancer), by comparing with macroscopic results and alternative methods used at laboratories. The consortium includes two research institutes and two industrial firms (both SMEs), who have extensive experience with mRNA techniques, and are motivated to commercialise results. They will be assisted by a hospital acting as end user, validating system usability and clinical accuracy.
- FP6-NMP - Nanotechnologies and nanosciences, knowledge-based multifunctional materials and new production processes and devices: thematic priority 3 under the 'Focusing and integrating community research' of the 'Integrating and strengthening the European Research Area' specific programme 2002-2006.
Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project