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IK4 STD detection device to be marketed in India

The company Globionic Technology will commercialise it in 2012. It is estimated that STDs affect 82.5 million Indian people.
The device, which was jointly developed by GAIKER-IK4 and IKERLAN-IK4, has proven its efficacy in the analysis of infections in clinical samples and is currently under adaptation for the diagnosis of world-wide high-prevalence STDs such as chlamydia, or to detect the presence of the human papillomavirus

2010/07/02  
A portable device developed by IK4 Research Alliance, capable of detecting chlamydia, human papillomavirus (inducing cervix cancer) and other sexually transmitted diseases in less than thirty minutes, will be marketed in India in 2012 to support early diagnosis of these diseases. With a population of  about 1,198 million inhabitants, it is estimated that more than 82.5 million individuals suffer one of these diseases in India. Chlamydia, the sexually transmitted disease affecting only women, is particularly worrying, as it is a silent disease in 90% of cases. With incidence also in Europe, chlamydia can affect the brain, cause blindness and lead to miscarriage, premature birth or premature torn membranes. It is also a key factor in the high rate of infant morbidity or infertility.

This low-cost quick diagnosis device developed by IK4 GAIKER and IKERLAN technology centres will enable the detection of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and other infectious agents in less time than current conventional systems based on microbial culture or molecular detection. The technological development, free from any laboratory support, performs complex detections in clinical samples and is more effective and profitable than other current fast detection techniques.
The Indian company Globionic Technology, responsible for placing this test in the market, has become aware of this diagnosis device through different scientific journals and specialised papers. Last May, a delegation of the Indian firm visited the IK4 centres to see this technological development first-hand and prove its use to stop the widely extended social problem, as is the case of STDs in India. During this visit, a demo of salmonella detection in faecal samples using this system was performed. In fact, the detection of this pathogen was this new development's former model.

Once the functioning was checked, both parties signed an agreement according to which the Indian delegation will receive a prototype of the platform so that the University of Delhi can adapt the device to STD detection.
This new procedure might enable the diagnosis of any molecular biology-related disease, including STDs. In the meanwhile, IK4 technology centres will focus on the development of a portable device model for ulterior commercialisation.

The portable device

Although there are many possible applications for this new development, at first research was focused on two application that are differentiated by the type of sample and the pathogen to be detected; namely, the detection of campylobacteriosis in farm animals (animal health applications) and the detection of salmonellosis in humans (human health application).
This device is currently being adapted for rapid detection of viruses causing respiratory tract infections and for monitoring the effectiveness of oncological treatments. Additionally, the device can be adapted to detect most infections that can be diagnosed by molecular biology; including metabolic disorders and oncological diagnosis, which amount to approximately 80% of the diseases classified by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The new diagnostic device miniaturises a conventional laboratory by turning it into a chip. It is also highly specific, quick, portable and easy to use. Thus, just like the company Globionic Technology, a wide range of possible users (hospitals, healthcare centres, etc.) could benefit from having this device equipped with a optical system, enabling quick detection of pathogens, genetic disorders, degenerative disease markers, etc. This system integrates on a chip a concentration of the pathogen, its failure to release genetic material, the multiplication of its specific fragments and, lastly, detection. The user only has to introduce the fluid (saliva, blood, tears, etc.) required by the device depending on the disease to be detected.

GAIKER-IK4's participation in this project as been focused on the adaptation of the biochemical development of the chip's microfluid system, while defining its design, commissioning, optimisation and characterisation requirements for its clinical applications, and for the diagnosis of different pathologies such as gastroenteritis, influenza, oncology treatment monitoring, etc.

On the other hand, IKERLAN-IK4 has worked on the development of the manufacturing technique to create a Laboratory on a Chip, and the design and development of the diagnostic platform, consisting of an optical-electronic reader and a disposable plastic device (lab on a chip). In the future, this development will allow for the creation of a variety of new devices.

One of the great advantages of this new device is the speed of the analysis process, including concentration, sample preparation and PCR detection (Polymerase Chain Reaction) in comparison with the complex procedures usually used in the reference laboratories. Additionally, its manageability and portability enable the performance
of the diagnosis in the medical practice.

IK4, €80 Mio revenue in R&D

The IK4 Technology Alliance, comprised by seven Basque technology centres (CEIT, CIDETEC, GAIKER, IDEKO, IKERLAN, TEKNIKER and VICOMTECH), registered in 2009 an overall volume of 80 million euros in R&D. Today, IK4 brings together over 1,250 professionals who operate in its eight scientific and technological units: Biotechnology and Biomaterials; Micro- and Nanotechnologies; Environment and Recycling; Energy; Industrial Management and Production; Communication Mechatronics; Materials and Processes and Information Technologies.

Such specialisations positions the Alliance as the technology partner for businesses seeking to undertake projects in many fields of application. Therefore, IK4 is also a leader in the participation of research projects promoted by the European, Spanish and Basque Administrations.
info:  Clara Bilbao,  bilbaoc@gaiker.es

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