University opens Centre for Integrated Diagnostic Systems

Event date: Tuesday 29 January 2002, 2.30pm

The University of Glasgow will this Tuesday open Scotland's first dedicated diagnostics research facility. The centre will bring together scientists from different disciplines to develop sophisticated techniques for rapid, on-site diagnosis of a wide range of conditions. The work will have far-reaching consequences for human and animal health, and the protection of the environment.

Vice-Principal Professor Peter Holmes said: "The centre is a unique multi-disciplinary environment, encompassing academic biomedical researchers and commercial partners. The development of highly innovative diagnostics and screening applications in cancers, infectious, cardiovascular and parasitic diseases is facilitated by this collaborative approach.

"Our aim is to provide point-of-care diagnostics so that, for example, vets can diagnose cattle in the field and midwives can analyse data at a mother's side. The established practice of taking samples back to laboratories for analysis is time-consuming and expensive."

Advances in information communications technology have opened up exciting possibilities in diagnostics. Equipment as simple as a mobile phone can enable databases to be interrogated, interpreted and updated instantly, from almost anywhere. We also hope to collaborate with colleagues internationally to improve data flow.

Peter Lennox, Director of Biotechnology for the Scottish Enterprise Network said: "This is great news for Glasgow and for Scotland. It will see more first class research developed in Scotland and strengthen our world position in the field of life sciences."

Academic departments collaborating in the Diagnostic Centre include the Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering, the Institute of Biomedical and Life Sciences, the Department of Computing Science, the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and various Departments of the Faculty of Medicine, all of which are internationally renowned in their field of research.

The Centre will strengthen successful industrial collaborations in the diagnostic industry. Companies including Kymata, Intense Photonics and Q-One Biotech have already benefited from the research strength of the University.

The Diagnostics Centre will also offer incubator space to new biomedical companies. Companies will be able to take advantage of on-hand expertise, low rent, University facilities and refurbished laboratories.

Funding for the Integrated Diagnostics Centre, based in the Thomson Building, was provided by the European Regional Development Fund, Scottish Enterprise, Joint Infrastructure Funding and the University.

Examples of recent diagnostics advancements at the University of Glasgow include:
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  • Diagnostics testing for infectious diseases via CD-rom technology. This patent has led to a successful spin-out company, Molecular Drives Ltd. Lab-on-a-chip technology and bio-nanotechnology (Professor Jon Cooper, Department of Electronics and Electrical Engineering). The University of Glasgow has been a member of the UK's lab-on-a-chip consortium (working with partners including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Unilever and Kodak). Recent work has led to the development of new ultra-sensitive optical biosensors, and the spin-out of Adaptive Screening http://www.adaptive-screening.com , a drug discovery company based in the incubator unit, integrating protein microarrays with lab-on-a-chip.
  • Dr David Eckersall of Veterinary Clinical Studies has developed diagnostic tests for measuring acute phase proteins in cattle and sheep. These tests measure the health of animals and can prevent contaminated meat from entering the food chain. Dr Eckersall expects that the screening tool will be used at markets and may become mandatory.
  • Max Murray and colleagues (University of Glasgow Veterinary School) involved in concept and development of point-of-care clinical biochemistry analysis for the veterinary market, now being succesfully distributed by Idexx. The same group were also involved with Haema Technologies Ltd in the concept and development of a novel laser-based point-of-care haematology analyser for the human and veterinary markets, including technology for measuring erythrocyte sedimentation rate with 20 micro litres of blood in 3 minutes. Web-based interpretative algorithms for clinical data provided the basis for the University's first e-commerce venture as part of EqWise, an information service for equine health and welfare http://www.eqwise.gla.ac.uk Diagnostics kits for animal health produced under licence by Tridelta Development Ltd http://www.trideltaltd.com/index.html

    Media Relations Office (media@gla.ac.uk)


    • Members of the press are invited to attend a photocall tour of the Integrated Diagnostics Centre on Tuesday 29 January 2002 at 2.30pm. Please come to the Thompson Building via Main Gate on University Avenue (directions available on request).
    • For further information on the Diagnostic Centre or any of the projects/companies involved please contact the University of Glasgow Press Office, 0141 330 3535

    First published: 29 January 2002

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