Fairway Medical Technologies wins US Navy contract to develop
battlefield blood-borne pathogen detector
12 September 2008
Fairway Medical Technologies, Inc. has received a $900,000, 3-year
contract from the US Department of the Navy to apply its pulsed laser
optoacoustic technology to the real-time detection of blood borne
pathogens and biological warfare agents under battlefield conditions.
The grant is part of a larger, $3 million project led by Prof.
Randolph Glickman, Principal Investigator from the University of Texas
Health Science Center (UTHSC) at San Antonio.
The project will be a collaboration between UTHSC, Fairway Medical
Technologies and the Naval Health Research Center Detachment Directed
Energy Bioeffects Laboratory at Brooks City-Base.
“This research is intended to develop a rugged battlefield instrument
capable of detecting biological agents such as anthrax, plague,
smallpox, and others with the speed, accuracy, sensitivity and
reliability of analytical techniques and instruments found in the
state-of-the-art laboratory today,” said Dr. Glickman.
The optoacoustic biosensor tests samples of blood plasma or other
liquids by using monoclonal antibodies (MAB) targeted to specific
“Elongated gold nanoparticles designed to strongly absorb
near-infrared laser pulses can be conjugated to each type of MAB to
create a specificity mechanism that will signal the presence of targeted
pathogens,” explained Dr. Alexander Oraevsky, VP of Research and
Development at Fairway and an inventor of this nano-biosensor.
“When the nanoparticles produce an acoustic response to laser pulses,
the presence and concentration of the pathogens is established.”
Unique ultrawide-band transducers developed by Fairway for medical
imaging and other analytical optoacoustic systems fit the signal
acquisition needs of this application, he added.
“This is an important continuation of Fairway’s current government
and industry-sponsored research. When the R&D part of this project is
over, Fairway will manufacture the devices for the Navy and other DoD
customers,” said Fairway president James Meador.
“Early front-line detection of biological threats using this kind of
rugged battlefield system will provide critical information that can
save Navy sailors and lives of other US military personnel, as well as
support fast, well-informed command decision-making,” commented Norman
Barsalou, project co-investigator from the Navy Bioeffects lab. “We are
proud that this collaboration between the UT Health Science Center San
Antonio, the Naval Health Research Center Detachment at Brooks and
Fairway Medical Technologies can move this important work ahead.”