UT-Developed Disease Detection Technology En route to Marketplace

 

An innovative disease detection technology developed by UT and UT Institute of Agriculture researchers is on its way to the marketplace.

Device prototype

Technology prototype of the impedance readout system. Sensor chips appear in the lower middle.

Meridian Bioscience Inc. has entered into a technology and commercial license agreement with the UT Research Foundation for the development of the technology that could result in low cost, point-of-care disease detection using a portable device. Meridian Bioscience is a life science company that manufactures, markets, and distributes a range of diagnostic test kits and other technologies.

Developed by Jayne Wu, associate professor of computer science and electrical engineering in the College of Engineering, and Shigetoshi Eda, associate professor in the Institute of Agriculture Center for Wildlife Health within the Department of Forestry, Wildlife, and Fisheries, the device can be used on site to detect infectious diseases, pathogens, and physiological conditions in people and animals.

“As we see with the current Ebola outbreak, time is so important in successfully treating and preventing infectious disease outbreaks,” said Wu. “This device has the potential to save a lot of lives by saving time in detection.”

Standing from left to right: students Cheng Cheng, Quan Yuan, Shanshan Li, Haochen Cui, and Xiaozhu Liu. Sitting from left to right: Researchers Shigetoshi Eda and Jayne Wu.

The device also will save money because the samples do not have to be sent to a lab and scrutinized by technicians. It can be used by any health care professional, anywhere. All that’s needed is a droplet of blood, or other bodily fluids, to place on a microchip within the device. The microchip is treated with disease-specific antigens—a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body—and captures disease-specific antibodies in the blood. If the antigens and antibodies match, the device tells the health care provider that the patient or animal is infected. This happens in a matter of minutes.

The device is also capable of detecting pathogens or their antigens, making it highly versatile.

The technology has been tested for detecting human influenza A and tuberculosis in people, as well as Johne’s disease in livestock. The scientists expect use of the device to be expanded to detect various diseases and physiological conditions.

C O N T A C T :

Whitney Heins (865-974-5460, wheins@utk.edu)

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