Microvisk Technologies Limited, a spin off of the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council, has been working on a device that can assess the clotting characteristics of blood in patients taking anti-coagulant drugs.
The heart of the Microvisk system is a micro sensor that is less than a millimetre in size. The sensor is created using a microscopic cantilever device, which bends when heated. The degree and the speed at which the cantilever device bends is indicative of the thickness of the blood surrounding the sensor. A hand held measuring instrument provides an immediate read-out of results which can be downloaded directly onto a computer. These miniature devices are cheap to manufacture in large quantities and are therefore disposable. Unlike other conventional sensors, the measurements can be made with a very small blood sample, causing less pain and tissue damage to the patient.
John Curtis, Chief Executive at Microvisk said: “Medical diagnostics is rapidly moving towards more effective and immediate testing for patients and away from the traditional, lengthy processes of sampling at a doctor’s surgery and getting the results back from a lab weeks later. Microvisk’s revolutionary new technology provides instant testing and analysis to measure blood clotting, using just a pin prick of blood. This is an easier, quicker and less intrusive approach to measure whether a patient is receiving the correct treatment dosage. The market for testing patients on Warfarin is huge, with a global value at over $2.25bn.”
UK Science & Technology Facilities Council press release: Immediate blood clotting analysis – at the doctor’s surgery …
Top image: Electron microscope image of the microfabricated cantilever device. Side image: Abstract top-view visualization of the device.
(hat tip: The Engineer Online)