Development of the NeutroCheck medical device for use in chemotherapy patients at risk of neutropenic sepsis

Lead Participant: Neutrocheck Ltd

Abstract

Neutropenic sepsis (NS) is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs in patients having chemotherapy. NS occurs because chemotherapy may suppress the immune system and if patients develop an infection during this time, even a mild illness can be fatal. Delays to antibiotic use increase the risk of death.

The key blood cell that is suppressed and leads to NS is a type of white blood cell known as the neutrophil. Consequently, if a patient on active chemotherapy has even mild signs of an infection outside of a hospital environment, national guidelines state they must be brought into hospital to have a blood test to check their neutrophil count. While the healthcare team awaits results for 1-2 hours, the patient is given intravenous antibiotics as a precaution in case they have low neutrophils, because delays to treatment increase the risk of death. Around half of these patients brought into hospital turn out to have a normal neutrophil count and therefore did not need to attend hospital or have antibiotics. This costs the healthcare provider time and resources, and can be stressful for the patient. In 2018, in the UK alone, around £35 million will have been wasted on these unnecessary visits.

NeutroCheck is developing a transformative new medical device to provide tangible improvements in patient care and healthcare resource management, both financial and human. The innovative lateral flow device is designed to be portable and easy-to-use and will be used in the patient's home to give a near-instant measure of the patient's neutrophil count using blood from a small pin-prick. Our focus is to produce a fast, reliable and low-cost device which would improve safety and quality of life for cancer patients worldwide. It will enable patients diagnosed with NS outside of hospital to receive antibiotics more quickly (e.g. via paramedics) whilst reducing antibiotic resistance and saving healthcare institutions such as the NHS millions of pounds each year from substantially reducing hospital visits.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

Neutrocheck Ltd £135,000 £ 94,500

Publications

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