Enigma Diagnostics awarded £1.8 million to develop rapid DNA test for infectious diseases
23 September 2008
Enigma Diagnostics has been awarded a grant of £1.8m from the UK Government's Technology Strategy Board under the Technologies for Health programme.
The objective of the programme is to develop a 'gold-standard' portable, rapid, automated DNA analysis (PRADA) molecular test system for the diagnosis of infectious diseases in decentralised and point-of-care settings such as GP surgeries.
The focus of the programme will be on sexually transmitted diseases including Chlamydia and healthcare associated infections including MRSA.
The PRADA system development will be led by Enigma Diagnostics and based upon its proprietary technology. Researchers at the Centre for Healthcare Associated Infections at Nottingham University and Nottingham Trent University, will develop and validate real-time molecular assays for the platform.
Point-of-care molecular tests for critical infectious diseases are a significant unmet clinical need. Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted infection in the developed world. Most people with Chlamydia have no symptoms and many are unaware that they have the infection. If left untreated, Chlamydia can lead to long term health problems, such as infertility and pelvic inflammatory disease. Rapid systems for point-of-care testing will enable healthcare professionals to accurately diagnose Chlamydia and treat it immediately, removing the need to track down patients days or weeks later.
MRSA is a significant public health problem and rapid point-of-care testing is essential for effective patient management. The NHS is introducing MRSA screening for patients admitted to hospitals in order to help reduce severe infections. The new PRADA system will allow rapid testing for emergency and out-of-hour's admissions, allowing doctors to make quick decisions about how their patients are managed while effectively reducing healthcare costs.
John McKinley, Chairman of Enigma Diagnostics, said: "We are delighted to have received such substantial funding to support this project and to be working with two leading UK clinical partners. We are committed to delivering rapid, cost effective diagnostic systems that will substantially improve patient care and help eliminate the spread of infectious diseases."
See also: UK technology board invests £15m in medical device and telecare R&D