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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/S001603/1
Title: Precision Healthcare - A novel diagnostic handheld platform for the detection of cancer biomarkers in urine
Principal Investigator: Salehi-Reyhani, Dr A
Other Investigators:
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Agilent Technologies Ltd Novartis
Department: Chemistry
Organisation: Imperial College London
Scheme: EPSRC Fellowship - NHFP
Starts: 29 June 2018 Ends: 23 September 2018 Value (£): 597,879
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Med.Instrument.Device& Equip.
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Healthcare Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
10 May 2018 EPSRC UKRI CL Innovation Fellowship Interview Panel 6 - 10 and 11 May 2018 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Cancer is the leading cause of death in developed countries and there is a major desire to pivot towards preventative rather than curative based medicine. Currently, effective treatment heavily relies on early stage detection and an accurate diagnosis of the cancer through molecular profiling. Liver cancer is the third most common cause of death due to cancer and has a global incidence of 1 million new cases annually. The prognosis for patients is poor and even worse in resource-poor settings such as sub-Saharan Africa, and Central and Far-East Asia. For example, liver cancer, linked to hepatitis B infection, currently kills nearly four times as many people as HIV/AIDS in Africa, however early detection could have a significant impact on survival rates. In both the developed and developing world, there is a critical need for new tools and technology for the routine detection and diagnosis of cancer and diseases in general.

The goal of this project is to develop a handheld device that can detect biomarkers in urine that will be able to diagnose liver cancer at the point-of-care. It will be assessed using validated patient urine samples. The technology upon which this is based is high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Like how a glass prism separates white light into its component colours, HPLC separates a liquid into its component analytes. HPLC is a gold standard analytical technique crucial to many industries worldwide in its ability to separate and identify chemicals in a complex mixture. HPLC is ideally suited to detecting and quantifying biomarkers in urine; however, it is not currently portable or suited to point-of-care analyses due to its size, cost and complexity. As part of this project, we will miniaturise the technology to a handheld device. Point-of-care or on-site HPLC analysis would provide results that could be acted on within minutes that otherwise would take weeks.

Due to the crisis in healthcare provision, such technology would ideally be suited to monitoring any individual, not only patients, in the home in order to realise the vision of next generation precision healthcare. Such a device has the potential to monitor us on a daily basis and act as an early warning system for doctors. Such person-specific molecular data may be used to detect or even predict the onset of disease."

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Organisation Website: http://www.imperial.ac.uk