OJ-Bio has been awarded a grant to develop a rapid point-of-care test to save costly repeat surgery.
Surgical removal of abnormal parathyroid glands is the only curative treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism. Monitoring parathyroid hormone (PTH) levels during surgery provides assurance that all overactive parathyroid tissue has been adequately excised, the surgical procedure can be concluded, and the patient returned to the ward. The drop in PTH levels after removal of the diseased gland is clearly visible, and can be used to provide a surgeon with the immediate feedback that the operation has been successful.
However, due to limitations of existing methods for determining intraoperative PTH, this procedure is far from universally adopted. Surgical sites not employing intraoperative PTH monitoring have a significantly lower success rate and concomitant ‘repeat’ rate.
There is a clear opportunity for a rapid, whole blood, near patient test, with minimal hands-on and instrument dependence.
Newcastle based OJ-Bio Ltd has been awarded a grant by the Academic Health Science Network for North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) to develop a point-of-care test and device to address this need.
OJ-Bio will use the funding to develop an assay for PTH on its Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) biosensor platform enabling a product that allows surgeons to get the information they need during the surgical procedure.
OJ-Bio has already formed links with leading groups in the UK who are performing intraoperative PTH measurements, and hopes this study will lead to further developments in collaboration with local NHS Trusts and Universities. The funding has allowed the company to recruit an experienced assay development scientist to its team in Newcastle.
“We will assess whether our platform can be adapted for simple, quick measurements of PTH during surgery. It is accepted that there is great value to the NHS in performing such measurements, but the current systems are not ideally suited to the point-of-care, and involve a member of laboratory staff performing existing lab based protocols near the operating suit” said Dr Dale Athey, CEO of OJ-Bio, “The ability to perform a rapid test at the patient bedside will be a major cost saving while still delivering the wider benefits of intraoperative PTH measurement.”
“The funding from AHSN for North East and North Cumbria will enable us to explore a new application of our technology, and we will provide £45,000 of match funding to the project, through our SAW instrumentation and scientific support.”
OJ-Bio Ltd is a joint venture between UK nano-biotechnology specialists Orla Protein Technologies Ltd (www.orlaproteins.com) and leading Japanese electronics and communications company Japan Radio Company Ltd (www.jrc.co.jp). OJ-Bio has developed a biosensor platform based upon Surface Acoustic Wave (SAW) technology, which allows the low cost, rapid measurement of disease markers, electronic storage and wireless connectivity.
Further to the Innovation, Health and Wealth Report published in December 2011, the Department of Health created 15 regional Academic Health Science Networks to identify, adopt and disseminate innovative healthcare in the NHS.
The Academic Health Science Network for the North East and North Cumbria (AHSN NENC) is dedicated to improving healthcare, driving wealth creation and promoting research participation across the region.
By working in partnership with our Core Member Organisations, comprising the regional NHS Foundation Trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups, Universities and a wide range of other stakeholders including companies, charities and Local Authorities, we work to ensure that areas of best practice and innovation are identified and disseminated, at pace and scale, regionally and nationally.