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Biosensing technology showcased at Extreme Medicine Conference

Biosensing technology to diagnose acute kidney injury in real time will be showcased on behalf of the HTC at the World Extreme Medicine Conference next month.

The presentation, by Biosensing Theme Lead for the HTC, Professor Paul Millner, is one of four sessions led by NIHR Healthcare Technology Cooperatives as part of the event’s Biomedical Innovations strand.

Acute kidney injury is a serious complication that can occur following severe trauma, affecting around a quarter of patients who survive their original injury. Hormones and proteins released as a result of the trauma, along with low blood volume, can impair kidney function, gradually leading to kidney failure and then wider organ failure. Patients that survive are left with damaged kidneys and can face a lifetime of dialysis.

Professor Millner has developed a way of testing for a biomarker found in the urine of trauma patients that can provide a real-time indication of the condition. The technology uses nanoscale sensor particles – just 20-30nm in size – suspended in a liquid. When mixed with urine, the particles bind to the biomarker and fluoresce – the light can then be measured to determine the concentration of the biomarker.

“Acute kidney failure is treatable and even preventable if diagnosed at an early stage,” says Professor Millner. “Existing tests for the biomarker take about half an hour to process, which is a long time for a trauma patient in surgery. Also, it is the speed of increase in concentration of the biomarker that will tell you if a patient is suffering acute kidney injury – so you need consecutive tests rather than just one.”

Professor Millner’s vision is that the technology could be used as part of a sensor connected into a patient’s catheter, providing continual measurement of the biomarker in urine and sending an alarm if concentration levels rise at a critical rate. He is now seeking further funding to develop the technology and take it into trials.

The  World Extreme Medicine Conference has dedicated the morning of Sunday 20 November to the NIHR Healthcare Technology Cooperatives as part of its Biomedical Innovations strand. Professor Millner will represent the Colorectal Therapies HTC alongside the WoundTec, Brain Injury and Cardiovascular HTCs.