Today, we're delighted to introduce Greig McLay, our Development Engineer. Grieg works in our Product Integration and System Engineering team and takes responsibility for the management and development of multiple bespoke medical diagnostics projects for external customers.
Tracking one’s health and wellbeing has never been as easy as it is in the 21st century. In addition to the wealth of health-related information easily available on the internet, the evolution of portable and wearable technology has made it possible to track aspects of one’s wellbeing on the go. Sleep quality, stress levels, and heart rate are only some of the health indicators that widely available smart devices allow users to assess. Wearable wellbeing diagnostics are in high demand and the industry is experiencing rapid growth: the number of connected wearable devices worldwide more than doubled between 2016 and 2019 and is expected to surpass 1 billion in 2022 (1), while the market for wearable health sensors is predicted to grow by 10.5% between 2021 and 2026 (2).
The cost of diagnostics technologies is one of the fundamental global health aspects to be considered for accessing the market with competitive and sustainable products. Exploiting the catalytic properties of the highly electroactive 3D Graphene Foam presents a number of advantages, such as a lower production cost and engineering, ease of mass production, and higher stability both in working conditions and long-term storage. To get a greater insight into significant opportunities afforded by electrochemical assay development services, today, we speak with Pablo, our Head of Research and Development, and Leila Kashefi, our Senior Electroanalytical Development Scientist to find out more about our Assay Development Services.
Over the last few decades, there had been increasing interest in both microfluidics and wearables, especially for remote, continuous monitoring and management of health and fitness. The rapid emergence of the wearables market has been influenced by big tech companies producing the likes of the Apple Watch, Fitbit and other wearable devices. The integration of microfluidic technology with multiplex capabilities into wearable devices is one of the most highly anticipated next-generation technologies. It has particular relevance in the fields of healthcare diagnostics, point-of-care (POC) testing and fitness monitoring with great potential to be applied to many more applications and market opportunities including the military.
Wellbeing diagnostic devices are tools that can assist in monitoring conditions such as health statistics, including heart rate and blood pressure. In recent years these have proven to be beneficial in diagnosing and managing health conditions in a remote environment. Wellbeing diagnostic devices have evolved rapidly in recent years due to how devices such as the smartphone have rapidly changed to adapt to a more modern lifestyle. The technology underlying these mechanisms in smartphones, mainly the embedded sensors, have advanced in terms of being able to be miniaturised, their energy requirements and sensitivity and the costs becoming more reasonable as their day-to-day use has increased (1).
Today, we're delighted to introduce Leila Kashefi, our Senior Electroanalytical Development Scientist. Leila conducts biosensor and assay development research on both internal and external projects as well as project management and supervision of a multidisciplinary team.
Acute Coronary Syndromes (ACS) are caused by inadequate oxygen supply to the heart and can be fatal if not treated quickly after onset. Swift and accurate diagnosis is essential for patients with ACS to be identified quickly and provided with the best care possible (1). It is thus no surprise that research is continuously carried out to develop new and improved diagnostic tools and markers that would allow ACS cases to be detected with even greater accuracy, speed, and cost-efficiency than before. There is great interest in advancing the accuracy of point-of-care tests that would allow diagnostic testing to be carried out close to the patient as opposed to a central laboratory, leading to higher speed and reduced costs. Some improvements that have occurred in the diagnostics of ACS in recent years include highly sensitive cardiac troponin (cTn) tests, discoveries of new biomarkers of interest, and electrochemical biosensors as platforms for biomarker detection.
Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a condition that affects the heart and blood vessels. It is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, responsible for over 17 million deaths: accounting for 32% of global deaths in 2019 (1). The “prevalence, high mortality and rehospitalisation rates” of CVD are all causes for further research into methods for early detection and diagnosis. Newer technologies will provide the patient with an improved prognosis and treatment plan whilst reducing the financial burden of the disease (2,3).
Diabetes is a chronic condition where the patient is unable to regulate their own blood glucose levels (1). Insulin is a peptide hormone produced by pancreatic islets beta cells: it breaks down glucose into glycogen that is absorbed by cells in the liver, fat and muscles. If blood glucose levels are not managed properly, it can result in patients developing life-threatening complications like diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), heart attack or stroke.
In 2021, it was estimated around 537 million adults between the ages of 20-79 years old were living with diabetes: this is expected to rise to 643 million by 2030. 1 in 2 adults (240 million) with diabetes went undiagnosed and 541 million adults had an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes (2).
Researchers at the University of Bath working in collaboration with industrial partner, Integrated Graphene, have developed a new sensing technique based on graphene foam for the detection of glucose levels in the blood. Since it is a chemical sensor instead of being enzyme-based, the new technology is robust, has a long shelf-life and can be tuned to detect lower glucose concentrations than current systems.