CDT – the European Research Centre of Sumitomo Chemical Group – has developed an innovative new optical technique that can improve the sensitivity of lateral flow devices (LFDs) tenfold. The novel optical LFD reader also promises to speed up testing and reduce errors, effectively bringing desktop accuracy and speed to portable diagnostic testers.
CDT develops novel LFD reader
LFDs are typically used for cost-effective medical and veterinary diagnostics. When incorporated into a suitable reader, CDT’s new approach can enable an order of magnitude increase in sensitivity of LFDs, and improve diagnostic testing in healthcare applications.
Armed with a sensitive LFD reader equipped with CDT’s two-colour optical reader technology, an ambulance paramedic could take a blood sample and measure levels of key biomarkers with sufficient accuracy to enable triage decisions. Data from the reader can quickly be integrated into patient diagnostic records.
In the veterinary sector, early indications of infectious diseases could be detected in the field, quickly and accurately, and appropriate measures taken to reduce further spread of the disease.
LFDs consist of an immunoassay incorporated into a transport medium such as a nitrocellulose strip. These assays have traditionally been regarded as a convenient, low cost threshold test for specific biomarkers, but their progress is hampered due to performance limitations, including limits to its sensitivity, human error in reading the strips, susceptibility to the background signal from the substrate, and the need for manual transposition of data.
CDT’s approach is based on a dynamic two-colour optical technology that can expand the usefulness of the LFD strip by improving the quality and accuracy of the reader. Using novel optics and data analysis algorithms, CDT’s patented solution can easily be integrated into typical LFD optical readers.
“The additional data provided by the two colour system corrects for the local background,"explains Chris Richardson, Director of Business Development at CDT. “This provides the potential to improve the lower limit of detection, compensate for sample viscosity errors, eliminate erroneous tests more quickly, and allow for the measurement of coloured samples. These improvements can enable levels of performance in a portable reader that would normally be associated with a state-of-the-art desktop unit, opening up new diagnostic applications in human primary/distributed care, veterinary and agriculture environments.”
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