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Home > Press > The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th

Abstract:
•The Pocket Project, funded with 2.6 million Euro by the EU, is coordinated by Prof. Peter Bienstman of Ghent University (Belgium).

•The test combines nanophotonic biosensors and novel selective antibodies integrated in a lab-on-chip platform to diagnose Tuberculosis through urine in both HIV positive and negative patients.

•CSIC Researcher Prof. Laura M. Lechuga leads the ICN2 Group involved in the biofunctionalization of the surface where the diagnostic reaction will take place and the complete lab-on-chip biosensor evaluation with patient's samples.

•Field trials in Africa and India will be organized during the final part of the three-year project with more than 200 encapsulated devices provided by the ICN2 Group.

The Pocket Project will develop a low-cost and accurate point-of-care test to diagnose Tuberculosis: ICN2 holds a follow-up meeting of the Project on September 18th - 19th

Barcelona, Spain | Posted on September 18th, 2014

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious bacterial disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which most commonly affects the lungs. Although it is curable and preventable it remains one of the world's top infectious killers. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), every year there are worldwide 8.8 million new active TB cases and nearly 2 million TB deaths - 5000 every day - mostly in the poorest communities of the developing world. It is among the top three causes of death among women aged 15 to 441, and it is especially frequent in people living with HIV causing one fifth of all deaths related to AIDS.

The European research Project Pocket (Development of a low-cost Point-Of-Care test for Tuberculosis detection), launched in November 2013, develops a low cost accurate urine test for the detection of TB designed to become an accessible tool to face the infection in developing countries. The leaders of the Pocket project are meeting on September 18th-19th at the Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2), where the Nanobiosensors and Bioanalytical Applications Group led by the CSIC Research Prof. Laura M. Lechuga is involved in the biofunctionalization and biosensor development. The initiative is funded by the ICT program of the EU with 2.6 million Euros and coordinated by Prof. Peter Bienstman of Ghent University (Belgium).

The early treatment of TB is currently hindered by the lack of rapid, accurate diagnostic tools, especially those that can be applied as a point-of-care device in the resource-constrained settings in developing countries. Alternatives do exists, but they either come at a high cost or lack the required sensitivity. The Pocket Project integrates a number of world-class novel technologies to provide a cheap and sensitive point-of-care TB test combining nanophotonics and novel selective antibodies. The new tool will be able to detect through urine the presence of TB antibodies. The antibodies to be detected are different depending on whether the person is infected with HIV, increasing the complexity of the sensor surface on which researchers from ICN2 are already working.

The objective of Pocket is to go beyond a mere laboratory prototype instrument, so during the final year of the project it will organise field trials in Africa and India. Despite most cases of TB occur in developing countries, the test being developed might be useful worldwide because the infection is reemerging in major urban populations in Europe, due to the increase in global travel.

Pocket project partners

The Pocket consortium is coordinated by Ghent University. The project partners are:
Ghent University (Belgium, www.photonics.intec.ugent.be): photonics transducer design
ICN2 (Spain, www.icn2.cat - www.nanob2a.cin2.es): surface chemistry
Imec (Belgium, www.imec.be): chip fabrication
Lionex (Denmark, www.lionex.de): antibody and antigen development
Microfluidic ChipShop (Denmark, www.microfluidic-chipshop.com): microfluidic chip development
Trinean (Belgium, www.trinean.com): instrument design

####

About ICN2
The Institut Català de Nanociència i Nanotecnologia (ICN2 – Catalan Institute of Nanoscience and Nanotechnology) is a renowned research centre. Its research lines focus on the newly discovered physical and chemical properties that arise from the fascinating behaviour of matter at the nanoscale. The Mission of ICN2 is to achieve scientific and technological excellence at an international level in nanoscience and nanotechnology, and to facilitate the adoption and integration of nanotechnologies into society and industry.

The patrons of ICN2 are the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat), the Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC), and the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB). The Institute promotes collaboration among scientists from diverse backgrounds (physics, chemistry, biology, and engineering) to develop basic and applied research, always seeking interactions with local and global industry. ICN2 also trains researchers in nanotechnology, develops numerous activities to facilitate the uptake of nanotechnology by industry, and promotes networking among scientists, engineers, technicians, business people, society, and policy makers.

ICN2 was accredited in 2014 by the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness as a Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, the highest recognition of centres of excellence in Spain. The ICN2 proposal for this call focused on the development of nanoscale devices that are effective and marketable. Based on scientific advances in the development of materials, nanofabrication, characterisation, and theoretical simulation, practical applications will be developed in three main areas: Biosystems, Energy, and Information technology and telecommunications.

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