Updated on 21 December 2012
"The new low-cost portable testing devices currently under development are intended to enable reliable, quick diagnosis and timelier treatment of patients. We believe that modern diagnostic technologies can have a very significant positive impact on developing countries by helping to save lives, reducing economic impact (of diseases on patients) and curtailing the spread of infectious diseases," said Dr Ellen Sheets, chief medical officer of Qiagen.
Asian companies and researchers too have joined the bandwagon of innovation in this segment. A research team from Singapore Lipidomics Incubator under National University of Singapore is collaborating with the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics to identify novel target molecules to be employed as biomarkers for the detection of active tuberculosis. The aim is to translate these targets into a diagnostic test that is affordable, easy-to-use and produces rapid results, and that can be used by community health workers in poor countries.
Similarly, a new power-free microfluidic chip developed by researchers at the RIKEN Advanced Science Institute in Japan has enabled the detection of microRNA from extremely small sample volume in only 20 minutes. This is possible by drastically reducing the time and quantity of the sample required for detection. The chip lays the groundwork for early-stage point-of-care diagnosis of diseases, such as cancer and Alzheimer's disease.
Companies focus on disease management
Monitoring patients' vitals closely is crucial before and after surgery or some treatments. One example, patients with diabetes need constant monitoring. However, this is not always possible or convenient. Several medical devices companies are looking to address this challenge. Products and services that make patient monitoring easier go a long way in disease management. It allows healthcare professionals to deliver more efficient treatments in many cases.
For instance, diabetes management can enable people with diabetes to improve all aspects of self management and allow healthcare professionals to raise the efficiency of treatment. Diagnostic companies can play a major role in such situations by bringing out products and services to this end.