The device will display messages on an integral screen, giving patients access to clear, immediate advice. For example, they could be told that their condition remains stable if levels of virus do not change, or they could be told to make an appointment to see their doctor if the virus begins to flare up.
Investigator, Dr. Anna-Maria Goretti, an NHS consultant and co-investigator based at the Royal Free Hospital, says: "If patients neglect to take their treatments or need prompting to see their GP the device will provide a simple way of letting them know. It will really empower HIV patients to keep a close eye on their health and their treatments."
Robin Weiss, Professor of Viral Oncology at UCL, whose pioneering work in identifying the receptor for HIV has deepened our understanding of HIV/AIDS, adds: "One of the principal advantages of the proposed device is its capacity to monitor viral and immunological markers on a single chip without the need for time consuming analysis that requires specialist laboratories."
Dr Yeong-Ah Soh, lead investigator at Imperial and lecturer in Materials Science, who is responsible for engineering the nano-cantilever arrays, sayss: "This project combines technology from semiconductor processing with modern biology to produce a unique piece of kit for tracking how HIV develops in individual patients, and helping them to keep a close eye on their own health."
The project will be carried out over the next three years, with the promise of additional funding.
In the UK, there are an estimated 70,000 carriers of HIV. Worldwide, HIV/AIDS has grown to pandemic proportions and today there are 35 million people living with the virus, two-thirds of them in sub-Saharan Africa. This development is expected to bring major improvement to UK patient and will anchor UK at the forefront of HIV research.
|Contact: Dr Thierry Bontoux|
University College London