New research will target threat caused by sepsis

New research will target threat caused by sepsis

10 Apr 2012

Twelve new research and development projects that aim to improve the future diagnosis, detection and management of sepsis, a life-threatening illness caused by the body overreacting to an infection, are to receive government funding totalling £8 million.

The grant funding – from the Technology Strategy Board, the Department of Health, Ministry of Defence, Home Office, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and Medical Research Council – will be matched by funding from the UK companies involved in the projects, bringing the total value of the R&D to over £15 million.

Iain Gray, Chief Executive of the Technology Strategy Board, said:

 “There is universal recognition of the need for new and improved diagnostic tools to help in the management of sepsis.  The products that will emerge from this important  research and development will help to reduce the economic burden, death and illness from sepsis and infectious diseases and create opportunities for UK companies in the huge global market for diagnostic devices.”

The twelve business-led R&D projects will see over twenty UK companies working collaboratively with over a dozen universities, research organisations and NHS Foundation Trusts.  The funding awards follow successful applications by the consortia to two competitions managed by the Technology Strategy Board.  The Multi-pathogen detection and/or simple discrimination competition sought proposals for projects to develop point-of-care diagnostic tools to assist clinicians and health workers in the management of sepsis, while the Advancing biomarker use in sepsis management competition looked for R&D projects that would advance the effective use of biomarkers in the management of the condition.

The projects will be led by BD Biosciences (Oxford) (2 projects), BioGene (Kimbolton, Cambs), HPA Microbiological Services Porton (Salisbury), Inanovate UK Ltd (Birmingham), Magna Parva (Leicester), MAST Group Ltd (Bootle), MicroLab Devices Ltd (Leeds), Mologic Ltd (Sharnbrook, Beds), Randox Laboratories Ltd (Crumlin, Co Antrim), Sepsis Ltd (Liverpool) and Smiths Detection Watford Ltd (Watford).  Taking into account the other organisations that make up the twelve consortia, companies and experts from every part of the UK will take part in the research and development activity.

 The projects include work that will lead to the development of:

-          Point-of-care devices to detect multiple pathogens and antibiotic resistance profiles;

-          A rapid test (less than 3 minutes) to detect the presence of bacteria in blood;

-          Devices capable of detecting pathogens and the host response in a single system in less than 15 minutes;

-          Biomarker based cellular assays to predict stages of infection and sepsis;

-          Tests incorporating physical and biological measurements that can be used in multiple settlings to detect the early signs of infection and sepsis

The Technology Strategy Board used the Multi-pathogen detection and/or simple discrimination competition to pilot a planned initiative called Design Option, which aims to help businesses think more about design at the start of their research and development project.  Through the Design Option initiative, applicants to this competition were offered free access to design mentors while they were in the early stages of developing their project proposals.  Five requests for Design Option assistance were received and approved.  Three of these were invited to submit full applications and two were ultimately successful in securing offers of grant funding.

The funding programme is part of the Technology Strategy Board-managed Detection and Identification of Infectious Agents (DIIA) Innovation Platform, which is managing a range of government investment in innovative research and development into diagnostic tests and devices that will help to cut the number of deaths and cases of illness caused by infectious agents in humans and animals, while reducing the economic burden.

View the press release including notes to editors here

 

Last updated on Tuesday 10 April 2012 at 12:18

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