Exploiting advances in diagnostic and wireless technologies to reduce the burden of STIs

Lead Research Organisation: St George's University of London
Department Name: Department of Cellular and Molecular Sci

Abstract

This application is a plan to build an expert group (Consortium) of scientists and doctors to develop: 1) inexpensive, easy to use personal diagnostic kits, that can test for and give immediate results (that is in minutes) for many sexually transmitted infections (STI) all at once; 2) the ability to immediately and automatically communicate these results electronically with mobile-phones and the internet to give immediate interactive advice, help those infected to get early treatment, locate the nearest treatment centres and make it easier to inform partner?s that they ought to get tested and treated. These devices will be easy to obtain, for example as are condoms from vending machines in clubs. All these procedures will be managed to the highest current ethics guidelines. The Consortium will also aim to see if these devices can automatically and anonymously feed into the Government?s surveillance system for STIs so as to get a truer picture of the amount of STI in the community. The overall aim is to provide a community based diagnostic environment that lets young people, and others at risk for STIs, have easy access to diagnosis and advice, allowing them to take greater control of their sexual health while also reducing the amount of STI in the community. The Consortium will include experts in the special fields of microarrays (?gene chips?), microfluidics (?lab-on-a-chip?) and internet/mobile communication technologies to help the development of the devices and also doctors and public health experts to help identify the best ways the devices could be distributed and used to get maximum benefit to the community. The Consortium will be built by adding to the partnerships that already exist among the group applying for the grant by inviting other key experts in the fields to a series of specially invited seminars and workshops to identify the main challenges to the research ahead. These meetings will be where it is decided who should join the Consortium. The resulting group will then devise a programme of research over five years, based on the workshops and the expertise within it. The Consortium will be established by early 2009, in time to submit a full grant application for the work that the Consortium will propose to do.

Technical Summary

This Strategy development grant application aims to build a multidisciplinary Consortium that will exploit the recent advances in micro-engineering and wireless communication to develop a novel community-based, rapid STI diagnostic system. This will deliver easily obtainable, inexpensive, user-friendly, highly accurate, point-of-care, nucleic acid amplification (NAAT)-based, diagnostic test devices, for multiple STIs, that are integrated with wireless/mobile-phone technologies to give immediate test results together with their interpretation, and sexual health advice while facilitating early STI treatment and partner notification. It will also aim to provide a platform for enhanced community STI surveillance, to work alongside existing STI surveillance, thereby giving a truer indication of STI burden and strengthening the basis for local sexual health promotion. The long term aim is to provide a community based diagnostic environment that facilitates easy access to STI care enabling those at risk to take greater control of their sexual health, reducing the burden of STIs. The Consortium will include expertise with simultaneous microarray detection of multiple pathogens, skills in engineering and wireless/mobile communication technologies to drive the development of these systems and also include clinical, epidemiological and surveillance expertise to identify the best strategies for their maximum public health impact. Ethical implications of the proposals will be explored during its development. The Consortium will be built on existing well developed inter-institutional scientific collaborations by identifying and inviting key experts in the relevant fields to a series of invitee-only seminars and workshops to identify the main epidemiological and technological challenges ahead. The Consortium that emerges from these workshops will use the evidence accrued from them to synthesise a programme of research to be conducted by the Consortium over a five year period. A preliminary programme proposal will form the basis for negotiations around the establishment of the Consortium and its management structure. St George?s, University of London, has a well established research office that has a proven track record in negotiating the establishment of Consortia. The process of Consortium formation will further enhance and add to the nature of the research programme over the subsequent months, in line for an outline proposal to the UKCRC in early 2009. The Consortium will be established by early 2009, in time to submit a full Consortium grant proposal.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description Brunel University Microfluidics / HCI Development 
Organisation Brunel University London
Department Brunel Institute for Bioengineering
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ongoing interaction in the eSTI2 consortium to deliver project objectives. The key elects are in the development of microfluidc platform to enable adequate sample processing for rapid NAAT detection systems. Equally the development of software (mobile and web-based to support the development of clinical care pathways. (2011-2013) We initially have worked in this collaboration in developing our Consortium Strategy Development Grant in 2008. Consortium Seminar, 20th May 2008. Held at St George's, University of London. The main purpose of this seminar was to invite potential consortium partners so as to present the vision of the UKCRC and eSTI2 consortium and to elicit interest, support, contribution and agreement to participate from collaborators across the different disciplines. One whole day seminar, comprising of a morning session explaining the proposed structure of the Consortium, timelines of development and initial plan for taking the work forward. Invitees from different disciplines including Epidemiology, Clinical Medicine, Engineering, Microfluidics, Wireless and Industry (including those from diagnostics, management and biotech) were invited to the seminar. 40 delegates attended the seminar and Workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Participated actively in developing the Consortium Strategy and is a major partner in the full Consortium Grant application. Technologies Workshop. 16th July 2008. St George's University of London. Attended by 19 delegates Topics included:- Microfluidic research questions centered on the challenges around extraction of DNA, isothermal amplification and real time detection systems. Wireless Technologies discussions centered around: • the interactive nature of devices, linking of wireless-processes within social networking; • how the devices will self power, theoretical molecular signal processing, signal detection, processing and using information and data security. • Planning the integration of existing off-the shelf POC systems and testing them in various clinical settings was a proposed area of research. Considerable time was spent discussing IT governance and, data encryption and security. A detailed discussion took place on the management structure of the consortium, the importance of microbiological leadership and capacity for microbiological training arising out of the eSTI2/UKCRC initiative. The Centre for Infections has participated actively in developing the Consortium Strategy and is a major partner in the full Consortium Grant application
Impact The final Grant Output report submitted to the MRC 2008. Please see publications list
Start Year 2008
 
Description Brunel University Microfluidics / HCI Development 
Organisation Brunel University London
Department School of Information Systems, Computing and Mathematics
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Ongoing interaction in the eSTI2 consortium to deliver project objectives. The key elects are in the development of microfluidc platform to enable adequate sample processing for rapid NAAT detection systems. Equally the development of software (mobile and web-based to support the development of clinical care pathways. (2011-2013) We initially have worked in this collaboration in developing our Consortium Strategy Development Grant in 2008. Consortium Seminar, 20th May 2008. Held at St George's, University of London. The main purpose of this seminar was to invite potential consortium partners so as to present the vision of the UKCRC and eSTI2 consortium and to elicit interest, support, contribution and agreement to participate from collaborators across the different disciplines. One whole day seminar, comprising of a morning session explaining the proposed structure of the Consortium, timelines of development and initial plan for taking the work forward. Invitees from different disciplines including Epidemiology, Clinical Medicine, Engineering, Microfluidics, Wireless and Industry (including those from diagnostics, management and biotech) were invited to the seminar. 40 delegates attended the seminar and Workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Participated actively in developing the Consortium Strategy and is a major partner in the full Consortium Grant application. Technologies Workshop. 16th July 2008. St George's University of London. Attended by 19 delegates Topics included:- Microfluidic research questions centered on the challenges around extraction of DNA, isothermal amplification and real time detection systems. Wireless Technologies discussions centered around: • the interactive nature of devices, linking of wireless-processes within social networking; • how the devices will self power, theoretical molecular signal processing, signal detection, processing and using information and data security. • Planning the integration of existing off-the shelf POC systems and testing them in various clinical settings was a proposed area of research. Considerable time was spent discussing IT governance and, data encryption and security. A detailed discussion took place on the management structure of the consortium, the importance of microbiological leadership and capacity for microbiological training arising out of the eSTI2/UKCRC initiative. The Centre for Infections has participated actively in developing the Consortium Strategy and is a major partner in the full Consortium Grant application
Impact The final Grant Output report submitted to the MRC 2008. Please see publications list
Start Year 2008
 
Description CromSource (formally known as Pleiad Inc) 
Organisation CROMSOURCE
Country Italy 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution -
Collaborator Contribution Crom Source (formerly Pleiad inc) have assisted eSTI2 in developing the ethical and regulatory framework for the diagnostic evaluation pipeline being created in the project.
Impact Development of the ethical and regulatory requirements. These have now been successfully approved for performing diagnostic evaluations.
Start Year 2010
 
Description Health Protection Agency -Surveillance and Diagnostic Evaluation 
Organisation Public Health England
Department Centre of Infectious Disease Surveillance and Control
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution We have worked in this collaboration in developing our Consortium strategy. Involvement (Scientific Steering Committee) with PHE Innovate UK SBRI grant (Development of a tool for assessment of the impact of introduction of point-of-care tests for STIs), with 2 main projects: i.) Development of a user-friendly webtool to assess the cost and epidemiological impact of implementing point of care tests for chlamydia at the local level; ii.) Investigating sexual behaviour in the time period between being tested for chlamydia and receiving test result and treatment. Systematic review of rectal Chlamydia.
Collaborator Contribution The Centre for Infections has participated actively in developing the Consortium Strategy and is a major partner in the full Consortium Grant application
Impact Development of a distinct strategy for Translational Infection Research. The final Grant Output report submitted to the MRC 2008. Please see publications and grants
Start Year 2008
 
Description Oxford Gene Technology - STI Polymicrobial Array 
Organisation Oxford Gene Technology
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution We have clinically evaluated the utility of a 28 organism -polymicrobial STI array for diagnosing multiple sexually transmitted infections. The array was designed in collaboration with Oxford Gene Technology.
Collaborator Contribution OGT have provided intellectual input into the design of our polymicrobial STI array and supportive to the subsequent bid for a full Consortium Grant. OGT have participated in workshops and seminars in developing the strategy for the Consortium.
Impact Development and Validation of a Microarray Enabling Simultaneous Detection of MultipleSexually Transmitted Infections. Division of Cellular and Molecular Medicine, St George's, University of London. Oxford Gene Technology, Begbroke Science Park, Yarnton, Oxford MRC Biostatistics Unit, Institute of Public Health, Cambridge Department of Genitourinary Medicine, St George's Healthcare NHS Trust. Publication - In preparation of the above Title
Start Year 2007
 
Description UCL - Epidemiolgy and Public Health Workstreams 
Organisation University College London
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Contributing to the development of clinical care pathways. Consortium Seminar and various workshops.
Collaborator Contribution Development of clinical care pathways for eSTI2. Epidemiology/Clinical Workshop 18th June 2008. Held at St George's University of London. Attended by 12 delegates from SGUL, UCL, University of Sussex Key areas that were discussed included: 1. The direction of the Consortium 2. Distillation of a diverse number of clinical and epidemiological research proposals that would be needed to underpin the work of the Consortium. 3. The structure of the consortium, leadership and institutional support were also discussed in detail.
Impact MRC Report Submitted 2008 See publications list
Start Year 2008
 
Description ADREU Twitter 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The ADREU Twitter account was created to allow our group to increase visiblity among potential new and exisiting collaborators and clients.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018
URL https://twitter.com/adreu_sgul
 
Description ADREU website 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact The ADREU website was created to enable our group to provide information on our services and allow for Industry and professionals easily contact us and/or request further information to collaborate with our group.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2016,2017,2018
URL http://www.adreu.com/
 
Description SBRI2 Press release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact On the launch of our project with Atlas Genetics Ltd., funded by Innovate UK (e.g. SBRI2), Atlas, Aquarius Population Health and SGUL press office collaboratively created a press release about the work.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL https://www.sgul.ac.uk/news/news-archive/new-rapid-sexual-infection-test-set-to-transform-nation-s-h...