Liverpool John Moores University working alongside BioSensors Ltd, Alder Hey Children’s NHS Foundation Trust and Lucid Innovation Group, have entered the second phase of a development contract to produce a life-changing medical solution which is expected to dramatically reduce the risk of infection, as well as making blood tests less distressing for patients and their families.
After successfully completing stage one of a Small Business Research Initiative for Healthcare (SBRI) proof of concept project, the team is now working on a functioning prototype of the device, which will offer a ground-breaking, non-invasive way to analyse blood samples for clinical and research purposes.
The patented sensor system, developed at LJMU, is a small wireless sensor array which can read defined signs of disease or abnormalities in the blood without breaking the skin. The team from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital advise on clinical need and through the NIHR Alder Hey Clinical Research Facility for Experimental Medicine, ensure that the research is conducted to the required standards of scientific quality, while Lucid Innovation Group are the professional industrial designers and engineers behind the manufacture of the device.
The prototype device uses electromagnetic waves to measure lactate and haemoglobin levels which are very important indicators of how sick a patient is, as they relate to levels of oxygen in the body. The sensors then transmit their findings to Med eTrax, a mobile monitoring application running on a Microsoft Windows 10 platform, which features a user-friendly interface that makes it easy to analyse the results of any blood test and trends. An integrated early warning system also alerts remotely medical staff to any changes in a patient’s condition, and allowing them to track progress in real-time, improving standards of care across the board.
Dr Alex Mason, research lead in sensor technology at LJMU, said: "Our team within the Faculty of Engineering and Technology are delighted to be involved in such a potentially game-changing project, and it is a fantastic opportunity for us to get our research out of the lab and into a setting where it can truly make a difference."
John Hopkins, CEO of BioSensors Ltd, said: "There is a clear medical need for a better way to monitor patients in intensive or neonatal care and advances in technology mean we can now do things that were just not possible before and advance standards of care for babies and children. Our initial research has enabled us to secure funding to put the device to the real-world test with our colleagues at Alder Hey and potentially make it a viable solution for children and adults in hospitals everywhere."
This successful collaborative has developed following a catalyst event held in June 2014 at the office of the North West Coast Academic Health Science Network (NWC AHSN). NWC AHSN worked with Mr Rafael Guerrero, a Consultant Congenital Cardiac Surgeon at Alder Hey to develop a 'call to action' to innovators and businesses interested in sensor technology that had the potential improve outcomes in the paediatric cardiac setting. NWC AHSN is delighted with the result of this SBRI initiative and the potential it offers to transform care for acutely ill babies and children. The organisation will continue to work closely with the collaborative to offer further support.