Updated on 21 December 2012
Speaking on the impact of point-of-care diagnostics in the healthcare sector, Mr Harish Nuggehalli, founder and chief technologist of Yethi Medical Systems, a Bangalore-based start-up, says it allows early detection of disease, helps in disease mapping and providing targeted drug delivery system. Devices developed by Yethi, which was founded in 2010, can measure ECG, SPO2, pulse, non-invasive blood pressure, blood sugar, temperature and weight. He mentioned that devices for haemoglobin, creatinine and other assay diagnostics are in the pipeline.
European companies such as Roche and CeQur are developing devices that combine diagnostics and insulin delivery pumps, which not only remove the need for multiple daily injections of insulin but also mimic the role of pancreas.
Roche's recently launched Accu-Chek Combo insulin interactive pump combines a blood glucose meter with an insulin pump. In the system, the meter and the pump exchange data via bluetooth wireless technology. So, the meter not only enables the user to quickly test blood glucose levels, but also allows remote operation of the insulin pump. Then, with the help of an easy-to-handle bolus advisor, it provides support in defining the right amount of insulin.
The Accu-Chek Combo system therefore supports a more targeted therapy management, while also allowing discreet insulin administration without the need to touch the pump. The product has been successfully launched in several European and Asia Pacific countries.
The 2008 swiss start-up CeQur developed the CeQur system, which is a small, wearable insulin delivery device that delivers both basal and bolus doses subcutaneously. The simple and discrete design enables patients to easily comply with the insulin regimens and experience the benefits of intensive insulin therapy. The CeQur insulin infuser includes a disposable insulin reservoir that attaches to a reusable electronic messenger. The device easily attaches to the patient's abdominal area with a safe and secure adhesive backing. Once in place, insulin is delivered subcutaneously through a fine, soft tube or cannula from the reservoir that is changed by the patient every few days.
Asian companies join the bandwagon
Similar developments are taking place on the Asian soil as well and Indian companies are taking a lead in the field. Indian company Bigtec's TrueLab is a point-of-care, hand-held, real time quantitative mini PCR that is battery operated. This device can be lifted in one hand, and detects the disease organism by a polymerase chain reaction carried out on a chip designed using microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology and is specific to each disease. Bigtec Labs has also developed chips for other diseases, such as H1N1, with the support of the Indian Council of Medical Research.