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DNAe Highlights the Urgent Need for Fast Diagnostics

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DNA Electronics highlights the urgent need for fast diagnostics to help tackle the growing threat of antibiotic resistance.

“Time is a critical factor in survival for the treatment of the serious condition of sepsis which can arise from blood infections. DNAe is committed to the development of a test that enables clinicians to intervene effectively before sepsis sets in,” said Professor Chris Toumazou, inventor of a game-changing DNA sequencing based diagnostic platform, and founder and CEO of DNAe.

A recent survey of over 1,000 GPs in the UK found that 28% prescribe antibiotics ‘several times a week’ even when they are not medically necessary. Almost a quarter say that this is because there is a lack of easy-to-use diagnostic tools. Improved diagnostics will play an important role in tackling antibiotic resistance by ensuring that actionable information is provided to clinicians fast; saving lives by enabling the right treatment at the right time.

“We support the co-ordinated efforts made by multiple stakeholders around the world to raise awareness of the issue of resistance to antibiotics - but without action to change behaviour, improve diagnostics, reduce unnecessary prescriptions and develop new antibiotics we face a future where modern medicine as we know it is no longer possible, with everyday bacterial infections leading to complications and death, as they did before antibiotics were discovered,” Professor Toumazou added.

DNAe also welcomes the opening of entries for the £10 million Longitude Prize 2014, who conducted the GP survey. The prize is to be awarded for an accurate, rapid, cost-effective and easy-to-use point-of-need diagnostic test to ensure the patients receive the right antibiotics at the right time. Antibiotic resistance was chosen as the challenge in a public vote earlier this year.

DNAe is well placed to address the Longitude Prize challenge. The Company’s number 1 goal is to meet the high degree of unmet medical need in the treatment of pre-sepsis with a rapid, accurate and affordable diagnostic device that can deliver results in hours not days.

“37,000 people die in the UK every year from sepsis, more than lung cancer or bowel cancer. Currently, treatment decisions are made without identifying the disease agent” said Steve Allen, Chief Operating Officer of DNAe, “the often unnecessary prescription of the most powerful, but ineffectual antibiotics worsens the global crisis of antimicrobial resistance and at the moment there is no viable solution.”

Based on semiconductor DNA sequencing technology invented by Professor Toumazou, DNAe’s Genalysis® system translates chemically-encoded information in DNA into digital information on a semiconductor chip. This invention has been recognized this year with the EPO Inventor of the Year Award going to Professor Toumazou. He has also been honoured with the UK Institution of Engineering and Technology’s highest accolade, the Faraday Medal, which he will receive at a ceremony tomorrow.

Professor Chris Toumazou indicates that DNAe will be looking at entering the Longitude Prize, saying, “European Antibiotic Awareness Day plays an important role in highlighting the scale of the crisis, but critically how we can work together to help tackle it. By taking on the Longitude Prize’s challenge of developing faster, cheaper and more accessible diagnostics, we can ensure that clinicians receive actionable, accurate DNA-specific information on which to make informed treatment decisions. This can literally be the difference between life and death for some critically ill patients, and has the potential to save thousands of lives.

“Our mission at DNAe is to take our Genalysis® technology and apply it to an area where its speed, scalability and low cost can make the biggest difference to the lives of patients. Sepsis is one of the leading causes of death in the UK and at present the tools just don’t exist to recognize pre-sepsis and to enable it to be treated early. We aim to be able to deliver results to clinicians on-screen in just 2-3 hours from patient sample to result, enabling the right antibiotic to be prescribed and helping to prevent the increase in antibiotic resistance.”