Rockland Immunochemicals, Inc. (Rockland) has announced the award of a $224,473 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the NIH National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to develop an antibody-based point of care device for the diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease (SCD), a mutation that is carried in approximately 7% of the world’s population.
Rockland secured the award by demonstrating the technology and processes it deploys to develop and to produce leading edge life science tools for basic and clinical research focused on functional genomics and drug discovery markets.
Sickle cell anemia (SCA) is the most common form of SCD which is the fifth most common genetic disorder in the world. SCD occurs when red blood cells are unable to carry adequate oxygen throughout the body due to their deformation. SCD is extremely painful in those affected.
Early detection of SCD can help reduce the risk of life-threatening infections and increase the odds for survival. Also, diagnosis enables treatment with pain medication that can ease most symptoms, including abdominal, chest and bone pain, fatigue, shortness of breath, accelerated heart rate, delayed puberty, stunted growth, fever, and leg ulcers.
Currently, there are no simple and cost effective screening tests that can differentiate patients with the sickle cell trait (HbAS) from sickle cell disease conditions (HbSS, HbSC and HbS β-thalassemias).
“Rockland’s antibody technology platform will help to overcome these barriers tremendously. We will create novel hemoglobin isoform- specific antibodies and configure a lateral flow point-of-care assay.” said Dr. Carl Ascoli, Rockland’s Chief Science Officer.
Dr. Ascoli continued, “As a result of this project, the antibody- based lateral flow point-of-care device will allow rapid and inexpensive diagnosis of Sickle Cell Disease in infants and young children in industrialized and low-income and low-resource settings.”