Over the years, the application of in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) technologies in clinical diagnosis has evolved multifold. The global IVD market (segmented into diabetes, infectious diseases, oncology, cardiology, HIV/AIDS, autoimmune diseases, drug testing, nephrology, and other applications) is rising to 69 billion euros revenue by 2020. Rising incidences of chronic and infectious diseases and increasing healthcare awareness are some of the key factors that contributed this growth.
The daily routine in diagnostic labs requires handling of many samples for different tests and assays. Sample integrity and reliability of results are the most important things to be a matter of course. As healthcare needs grow, the number of diagnostics samples to test is growing fast. So clinical diagnostic labs are looking to automation to increase throughput, improve quality, and solve challenging problems quickly.
Many smaller laboraties performing strip-based assays are trying to make this step towards automation too, however, the existing automated processors would mean “overkill” in terms of price and size, requiring sample batches of 50 strips. The threshold is simply too high.
When you want to make “automation” accessible to these lower-throughput labs, your first hunch would be to develop a downsized version of the existing higher-throughput device to cut down costs. However, when Fujirebio partnered with the product development company Verhaert, a solution was found in a whole different direction: based on space technology expertise, Verhaert features to develop a highly stable and completely new testing mechanism that went beyond a straight cut of the device cost, generating considerable savings in the overall operating cost of the lab, thanks to a higher processing speed, the elimination of the need for maintenance and calibration and a more efficient use of reagents.
So the same technology used in the ESA Biolab of the International Space Station is now improving the diagnosis of infectious diseases and cancers here on earth.
Read the full story on the ESA website.