Kelley lab receives $6M in funding for work on low-cost infectious disease testing

Tue, 01 Apr 2014

Conventional testing for infectious diseases is intrusive, ineffective, inefficient, and inconvenient, often requiring patients to visit a laboratory to have the tests conducted and considerable amounts of time to produce results. In developing countries, tests for infectious diseases like Hepatitis C, malaria, and tuberculosis are even more problematic. As a result, the development of an accurate point-of-care test for these infections would significantly improve the clinical management of infectious diseases, particularly in rural areas and developing nations.

Professor Shana Kelley of the Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Toronto and Xagenic Inc. are partnering together to leverage their expertise in assay development, sensor technology, and low-cost chip fabrication to meet this challenge.

Kelley and Xagenic, a molecular diagnostics company developing the first lab-free molecular diagnostic platform with a 20-minute time-to result, are the recent recipients of a three-year Genome Canada Genomics Applied Partnerships Program grant co-funded by the Ontario Research Fund through the Ministry of Research and Innovation. The project will receive approximately $6M in funding and will lead to the development of a single affordable and accurate genotyping test to screen for infectious pathogens and will provide a new solution for rapid disease diagnosis.

“This low-cost, disposable, battery-powered testing device will identify pathogens in human blood in minutes, not days as many conventional tests for infectious diseases currently do,” notes Kelley. “At the same time, it small size and inexpensive nature will allow testing to be conducted at the doctor’s office, clinic, or even in remote locations.”

As a result, this new diagnostic tool has the potential to reduce infectious disease in Canada and around the world, and stands to dramatically improve disease management.

Genome Canada is a catalyst for developing and applying genomic sciences that create economic wealth and social benefit for Canadians. Working in partnership to invest in and manage large-scale research and translate discoveries into commercial opportunities, new technologies, applications and solutions, Genome Canada builds bridges between government, academia and industry to forge a genomics-based public-private innovation focused on key life science sectors.