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Disease sensor project receives funding boost

Technology to help diagnose infectious diseases has received funding to be developed at the University of Glasgow.

Almost £60,000 has been invested by NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde to support work to create a portable sensor which will quickly and accurately determine the cause of an infection.

The device, which will be developed by Professor Jon Cooper, Wolfson chair of bioengineering at the university, and colleagues at NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, will use ultrasound and mechanical energy to carry out diagnostic tests at a molecular level while using a low-cost disposable platform.

The sensor will help to diagnose genital ulcer disease, a condition which affects millions of people worldwide and can greatly increase the risk of HIV infection.

The final product will have the potential to be used for various medical conditions, such as home kits for sexual health and GP tests for respiratory disease.

Professor Jon Cooper said: "The sensors we're developing have a great deal of potential for delivering healthcare in the developed and developing world, as well as field-testing for food standards, veterinary health and environmental biomarkers."

Prof Cooper will be joined on the project by Dr Julien Reboud and Dr Rab Wilson of the biomedical research division of the university's School of Engineering, Dr Andrew Winter of NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde's Sandyford sexual health service and Dr Rory Gunson of the West of Scotland Specialist Virus Laboratory.

Dr Winter said: "This is an exciting collaboration between bio-engineers, clinicians and molecular virologists to bring sensitive modern laboratory tests to the bedside.

"It has real potential to transform the way we diagnose sexually-transmitted infections and other infectious disease, both here and abroad."

The project will begin this month and is expected to be complete by January 2014.

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