Dr Erica Forzani research aims to introduce a smartphone-based detection system for blood iron measurement.
Behind the science
"In normal circumstances, the measurements of iron panel biomarkers are time-consuming, expensive, and painful requiring venous blood draw, temperature-controlled storage and shipping, and use of laboratory-based expertise and instruments such as spectrophotometry."
She added, "Due to these limitations of clinical assessment of iron metabolism, the team have developed a dry reagent sensing strip for iron detection that gives accurate point-of-care performance, is easy to use (handling and disposal), has a reasonable shelf-life at room temperature, and low manufacturing cost, avoiding the need of laboratory space and instrumentation.
"Thus, we set out to build a point-of-care device for total iron measurement. We introduced a smartphone colorimetric measurement of total iron from human serum. The choice of utilizing phone-based point of care is due to this emerging technology as a point of care diagnostics. The fact that more than 2.5 billion individuals own at least one smartphone or use smartphones at least once a month, make cell phones the most widespread potential clinical device."
How did the research project begin?
"The topic of the blood iron panel analyser started with PLuS Alliance. In my professional career, I have held primarily the goal of accomplishing translational work (i.e. engineering that bridges the gap between research and device implementation in actual clinical settings). I found that the key points to accomplish this challenge are innovation with transdisciplinary teams.
"A transdisciplinary team enables innovation because innovative ideas emerge only when people from different backgrounds communicate needs and work together understanding each other’s language. Dr Maret brought his expertise in the study of the Metabolism and Dr Diez Perez his knowledge and expertise in Chemistry. Both are based at King’s.
"Mr Jackemeyer and Dr Tao at Arizona State University work in highly complementary fields, and with the work of a highly motivated student, Michael Serhan, the research generated successful and unprecedented ideas, concepts, methods, and a gadget! The PLuS Alliance has been key to all the development and research to date, without its support the work wouldn’t have been possible."