Point of Care Blood Cell Analysis

Lead Research Organisation: University of Southampton
Department Name: Electronics and Computer Science


The project will develop a new micro-technology for label-free point of care (PoC) cell analysis, paying particular attention to accurate determination of low abundance cell populations for a five-part differential for full blood count (FBC). The FBC is the single most common clinical measurement used to provide information on a patient's health in almost every single disease, indicating the large commercial impact of the work proposed here. The project will also develop new low pressure, low power microfluidics, minimally invasive sample extraction and low-volume processing and new integrated electronics. We will also develop methods for meaningful information delivery to patient and doctor. The end-results will be solutions and know-how for implementation of a handheld PoC Full Blood Count (FBC) system, based on high speed single cell impedance spectroscopy in a microfluidic format. This project will provide breakthroughs in functionality, minaturisation and consumer acceptability to realise a true PoC FBC.
Description This project developed of a hand-held Point of Care (PoC) Full Blood Count (FBC) system. It also developed a range of related complementary follow up devices and technologies. This system uses single cell impedance spectroscopy implemented in a microfluidic format. Three themes were pursued:

i) Translation from lab R&D to patient testing, with a focus on a reliable label-free identification method for low abundance cell populations, particularly monocytes, basophils and eosinophils.

ii) Designing and building of new micro-components and systems to address the issues of portability, small sample volume (for minimally invasive application), sample preparation, sample throughput, frequency bandwidth and electronic integration,including device modeling.

iii) Meaningful abstraction (simplification) of medical results (from the system) for presentation to untrained (nurses) or self-testing patients. Expert systems were designed based on Baysian networks, Neutral Networks and other adaptive algorithms.
Exploitation Route This project was a partnership between University of Southampton and Philips. There is consdierable use for a technology that can enumerate and identify cells outside the academic field. As oultined above, one key area is in developing improved methods for monitoring the wellbeing of cancer patients on chemotherapy. Other areas include tests requiring platelet counts and/or platelet activation assays. There are also potential uses for a low-cost blood analysis system for use in remoe locations or in developing or resource poor countries. An important area for home testing is the full blood count. This techniques, a counts of all the major blood cell types in a drop of blood, and is one of the most common tests performed in the hospital pathology lab. Bringing thise test into the home presents significant technology, business and patient care challenges. This project has leveraged university expertise to create a generic microfluidic platform that combines sample processing andwith cell characterisation and enumeration in a single, integrated miniature system. This microfluidic cytometer uses an all electrical measurement to produce a 3-part differential white blood cell count, together with red blood cells and platelet counts. The performance of the system has been have been achieved and corroborated with results from hospital clinical laboratory analysis. Thee technological innovation development is augmented by ongoing business development work in the industrial partner to explore and test commercial and patient care opportunities. Applications are widespread, but one key area is monitoring the health and wellbeing of cancer patients. With 13 Million new cases a year worldwide, over half of all cancer patients are treated with chemotherapy. Due to various complications and side affect 15% of these patients require hospitalization due to adverse side effects. A personalized medicine platform allows patients to manage the risk of adverse events including neutropenic sepsis and reduce unnecessary hospitalization.
Sectors Healthcare

Description The project was jointly with Philips. The findings have been used to develop a new portable Point of Care blood analysis technology. The research outocmes have fed into Philips' blood counting and analysis system for home monitoring of patients undergoing chemotherapy
First Year Of Impact 2012
Sector Healthcare
Impact Types Economic

Title A method of electrically measuring the electrical properties of individual particles flowing in a liquid 
Description This patent 
IP Reference US20160041080 
Protection Patent application published
Year Protection Granted 2019
Licensed Commercial In Confidence
Impact No non-economic impacts as yet.