Welcome to DiscoGnosis...
An EC-funded research project for Point-of-Care diagnosis of malaria and tropical diseases on a CD-like operating platform
Plastic disposable disc (left) inserted into the Point-of-Care detection platform (right)
The FP7 research project “DiscoGnosis” (“Disc-shaped Point-of-Care platform for infectious disease diagnosis”) was launched beginning of November 2012 in University of Freiburg, at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK). Its core objective is to develop a platform that would allow the detection of malaria and similar pathogenic diseases in a rapid, multiplexed and non-invasive way.
Malaria and tropical diseases
Malaria is one of the most crucial health threats. An estimated 220 million people get infected every year; 650.000 cases lead to death, 20% of which are within small children. The disease is still on advance mainly in Africa and other tropical developing countries with acute fever being the only symptom. In these regions, fever can also result from Salmonella typhi/paratyphi bacteria or dengue and chikungunya viruses, all of which, like malaria, are transmitted by mosquitos. Clinical surveys have shown that 30 to 40% of the patients are falsely treated for malaria without even being infected by it, due to inaccurate diagnosis. It is, therefore, vital to establish accurate diagnostic tools to distinguish these diseases and apply the appropriate therapy.
The technological approach
The DiscoGnosis platform will operate similarly to a CD player: a disc-shaped plastic disposable chip will handle the injected blood sample, distributing it among integrated microfluidic chambers and units using centrifugal forces. All necessary (bio)chemical components will be pre-stored on the disc, together with micro/nanocomponents for fully automated analysis in a precise, rapid, sensitive and multiplexed way with minimum external intervention. The involved technologies will enable diagnosis to be conducted closely to the patient and provide large populations with a modern diagnostic Point-of-Care tool in regions with low medical infrastructure. The platform will further enhance the “shield” of Europe against potential spread of the examined diseases due to climate change and globalisation.
The project consortium
The 3-year DiscoGnosis project received 3 M€ total funding from the European Commission. It is coordinated by the University of Freiburg, Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) in close collaboration with the partners: Rohrer AG, University Hospital Basel and European Foundation for Clinical Nanomedicine (CLINAM) from Switzerland; University Medical Center Göttingen from Germany; Magnamedics Diagnostics BV from the Netherlands; MAST Group Ltd from the United Kingdom. Multidisciplinary teams of biologists, chemists, engineers and clinicians will cooperate for the realization of this ambitious project of high socioeconomic impact.
|The project is supported by the European Commission through the 7th Framework Programme on Research and Technological Development within the Objective FP7 ICT-2011.3.2 and under Grant Agreement No. 318408.|