Oxford University bioengineering spinout Oxford MEStar has been on the ABHI UK Pavilion at MEDICA this week, showcasing the world’s first digital Faecal Occult Blood testing devices to enable early bowel cancer identification.
Colorectal cancer is the third most common form of cancer worldwide and the second most common cause of cancer death in the UK. Symptoms do not usually appear until the cancer is advanced, yet early medical interventions can achieve up to 90% survival. This places a strong emphasis on the need for early diagnosis and screening. This is emphasised by recent research suggesting that rates of bowel cancer have been significantly increasing, particularly in young age groups (<40 year old) who are mostly excluded from population-wide screening programmes.
The availability of novel cost and time effective screening technologies is therefore key to extending early screening to wider sections of the population.
Originally formed by scientists from the Institute of Biomedical Engineering at Oxford University, so-called measure Bowel Health is Oxford MEStar’s first product in a series of digital handheld diagnostic tests.
It is the only digital faecal occult blood (FOB) testing device of its kind and uses patented technology originating from research carried out over ten years at the Universities of Glasgow and Oxford, to detect the early signs of bowel conditions including cancer.
In contrast to traditional faecal occult blood tests, Oxford MEStar’s technology makes use of a patented electrochemical technology to analyse the peroxidase activity from blood present in stool samples. The new technology allows the test to be performed in under a minute, and the digital nature of the signal removes all uncertainties linked to test timing and result interpretation. Furthermore, the unique design of the testing minimizes the number of steps required to run the test, making it user-friendly and mess-free, thereby encouraging more people to take the test and increasing test compliance.
The measure bowel health test is sold as a self-testing device, designed to be used in the privacy of one’s own home. As well as showcasing this pioneering device at MEDICA, Oxford MEStar will also be launching a new version of the product, measurePRO, aimed at the professional primary care market.
Oxford MEStar’s Business Development Manager, Dr. Simon Bayly, said: “Our in-vitro diagnostic device works on a patented electrochemical technology, which converts the presence of blood in stool into a measurable electrical signal, increasing the chances of catching bowel cancer early on, when the chances of a positive outcome are highest.
“We are proud of our continued R&D work in developing new products and are excited to be joining the ABHI UK Pavilion this year and launching our new professional testing kit at MEDICA. Bowel cancer causes 16,000 deaths in the UK every year and over half of cases are preventable, so it’s vital to support the work of early diagnosis and treatment.”
Source: Oxford MEStar