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Using nanotechnology and a pregnancy tester to diagnose kidney disease

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Engineers at Bio Nano Consulting (UK) have developed a device with the potential to diagnose and treat individuals with kidney disease. The £10 device combines nanotechnology with a pregnancy tester and can be utilized at home. According to a report published recently by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE; UK), the device could revolutionize kidney disease care in the UK.

This new device, a quantitative electrochemical lateral flow assay, uses nanoparticles to test a patients urine and can provide results almost instantaneously. Furthermore, the results can be made available to a patient’s doctor remotely using mobile technology so they may track the development of the disease.

Helen Meese, Head of Materials at the IMechE, has highlighted the quantitative electrochemical lateral flow assay device as a “brilliant example” of what is possible with nanotechnology. “Using an old technology like a pregnancy tester and combining it with nanotechnology, you have a device which could not only diagnose the million people in the UK who are unaware they have kidney disease, but also help doctors effectively monitor those undergoing treatment.”

The IMechE report calls on the government to increase funding for nanotechnological development and highlights the potential it has in society. “Nanotechnology could revolutionize the way we live our lives,” commented Meese.

The report asserts that the government must increase funding to ensure the UK does not fall behind other nations. To assist with commercialization of nanotechnology within the UK, the report recommends a revision of the existing strategy for nanotechnology to reflect the changes to regulation within recent years. The report further appeals to those in the profession to help catalyze commercialization, and work with government and media to increase public awareness on emerging technology.

Sources: Meese H, Mimeche C. Nanotechnology: the societal impact of the invisible. Institution of Mechanical Engineers. (2015); Revolutionary ‘pregnancy tester’ to help 1m undiagnosed kidney disease patients in UK.

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