24 March 2016, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK
Ground-breaking new sample collection and preparation technologies which could enable simple and effective tuberculosis (TB) testing in the community, helping to reach the 3 million patients missed by healthcare systems each year, have been developed by life sciences tools and technologies developer QuantuMDx and leading academic institute St George’s, University of London.
The partnership is marking World TB Day (24 March) by announcing the imminent completion of ‘Q-TB’, a two and a half year Innovate UK funded £1.7m development project to tackle the biggest challenges in TB testing.
Amongst other TB testing objectives, the Q-TB project sought a simple solution to sputum collection and preparation. Sputum is highly variable in consistency and form, and notoriously difficult to process. Current methodologies are time consuming, require highly-trained staff and a range of laboratory equipment. In the case of children collection can be invasive and highly distressing. Testing can also take weeks to turn around, in part due to troublesome sample transportation to centralised laboratories.
The partnership’s technologies could enable rapid and accurate testing in the community, with a simple sputum preparation process that will prepare the sample for a range of testing methodologies, including QuantuMDx’s own handheld molecular diagnostic device Q-POC™ for Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) detection and reflex drug resistance testing in minutes, by the patient’s side.
Currently 95% of TB deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries. Q-POC™ will be a robust battery powered device that does not require clean running water or cold chain transportation, overcoming significant barriers to use in rural and resource scarce settings. Q-POC™ will enable health workers to initiate the right TB treatment plan, first time, bringing innovative precision medicine to the 9.6 million people who fall ill with TB annually, with the aim of helping reduce the 1 million adult and 0.5 million childhood TB deaths that occur every year.
St George’s Professor Philip Butcher said
“Sample preparation is a critical step in the diagnosis of tuberculosis. The completion of the Q-TB project will deliver the simplified sample preparation needed to run precision diagnostics in the community, helping to combat the global threat of drug resistant TB.”
QuantuMDx’s CEO Elaine Warburton OBE said
“Sample collection is notoriously difficult and in children the process is, quite frankly, barbaric. The Q-TB consortium is delighted that our sample preparation technology has gained the interest of several NGOs which should help expedite its commercialisation both in developing and developed countries, ultimately supporting the WHO’s eradication agenda and helping create a TB free world.”
The project was launched in September 2012. Support was provided by the Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND).
For press enquiries please contact:
Lucy Harvey, Marketing Officer, QuantuMDx Group on 0870 803 1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org
General QuantuMDx imagery can be found here.
About QuantuMDx Group
QuantuMDx Group is a multinational technology developer headquartered in the United Kingdom, with operations and partners in the United States, Asia, Europe and Africa.
The company’s flagship product Q-POC’s superior testing capabilities will bring the power of precision medicine to health professionals globally, enabling immediate detection of antimicrobial resistance and subsequent ‘right first time prescribing’.
QuantuMDx was co-founded by CEO Elaine Warburton OBE, inventor and CSO Jonathan O’Halloran and CFO Julian Warburton. Fellow Board members include CMO Professor Sir John Burn, COO Dr Sam Whitehouse and President of QuantuMDx USA Paul Fitzpatrick. Prof Sanjeev Krishna chairs the Infectious Disease Advisory Committee.
QuantuMDx is a privately owned company with a strong commercial and humanitarian focus.
About St George’s, University of London
St George’s, University of London (SGUL), established in 1733, is distinctive as the UK’s only independent medical and healthcare higher education institution. It benefits from strong links with the healthcare profession, including a shared site with St George’s Healthcare NHS Trust in Tooting, south west London.
SGUL is dedicated to the education and training of doctors, nurses, midwives, physician’s assistants, paramedics, physiotherapists, radiographers, social workers, healthcare and biomedical scientists. It attracts around 6,000 students, some of whom are taught in conjunction with Kingston University.
Research at SGUL has a UK and international focus and aims to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease in areas including infection and immunity, heart disease and stroke, and cell signalling. It also aims to enhance understanding of public health and epidemiology, clinical genetics, and social care sciences.