CLEVELANDCase Western Reserve University has granted a two-year technology transfer option to a research spinoff company developing a hand-held device that diagnoses malaria more quickly, simply and affordably than existing methods.
Disease Diagnostic Group LLC, the startup formed last summer from biomedical engineering research at the university's School of Engineering, also raised $250,000 to "field-test" the device this fall in Peru. These research dollars have come from various sources, including the Coulter Foundation. The Case Coulter Translation Research Partnership provides research dollars primary focused on clinical translation for medical devices.
The option from the university's Technology Transfer Office allows the company time to evaluate its Rapid Assessment of Malaria (RAM) device as an important pre-licensing step toward commercialization.
"They will be employing a working prototype to conduct field studies this fall to validate their design and ease of operation," said Wayne Hawthorne, the university's senior licensing manager. "There is a big push worldwide to eradicate infectious diseases, such as malaria."
DDG's product detects a magnetic substance that malaria parasites release when digesting red blood cells. RAM's creators can provide a faster and more accurate diagnostic test than methods now commonly used. The device is designed to detect the disease in less than a minute using a drop of blood from a patient's fingertip.
Brian Grimberg, assistant professor of international health and DDG's co-founder, president and chief medical officer, said early diagnosis is vital in reducing malaria deaths because early treatment is nearly 100 percent effective. However, half of the estimated 500 million annual infections worldwide go undiagnosed, according to the World Health Organization.
Potential RAM customers, including the U.S. military, could use the device in areas with limited medi
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Case Western Reserve University