Kidney monitor claims Merseyside Innovation Award for April

A wearable medical device that monitors kidney function and could reduce transplant patients’ time in hospital has claimed April’s Merseyside Innovation Award (MIA). (Video)

IMG_1281 April MIA Winner
Pictured L - R: Andrew Roberts, IF Sensing and Anne
Donnelly, MIA Sponsor The University of Liverpool

IF Sensing was founded in 2012 as a spinout from Central Manchester University Teaching Hospital Trust and University of Manchester by Professor Paul Brenchley and nephrologist Dr Sandip Mitra, who brought in biosensor expert Professor Tony Turner. With development led by former pharmaceutical researcher Andrew Roberts, IF Sensing is currently working to refine the diagnostic technology, believed to be a world ‘first’ for home testing kidney function.

Using novel painless and bloodless extraction techniques, the device tests the clear fluid under the epidermis of the skin, instead of using needles to access blood.

Created in response to clinical demand and market research conducted by IF Sensing, which found that a kidney transplant patient spends many hours in hospital waiting for and having vital post-operative check-ups. The new device could reduce both time pressures affecting patients and cost implications for the NHS. 

Andrew Roberts, Development Manager at IF Sensing said: “There are more than 350,000 kidney transplant patients in the developed world and millions of individuals at risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD). In the UK alone, there are an estimated 1 million people believed to have undetected CKD, so this device has the potential to positively affect millions of people.”

Andrew added: “Currently, kidney transplant patients require full and regular blood tests after surgery to monitor the body’s reaction to the new organ. Our device will reduce the need for hospital visits and allow patients to have peace of mind by testing their own kidney function quickly and painlessly at home, with minimal training and reduced risk of infection. The device can also be used to detect kidney impairment early, potentially saving healthcare systems tens of millions of pounds by allowing lower cost preventative treatments, as the cost burden of kidney disease is extremely high, mainly due to the requirement for expensive dialysis or transplant and costly follow-up.

“In addition to kidney disease, our technology can also be developed to test for other diseases including chronic diseases like liver disorders, and acute diseases such as serious infections,” continued Andrew, “it could also be implemented in a myriad of settings including health checks, sports performance monitoring, GP surgery screening and military personnel health monitoring.”

Anne Donnelly, Business Development Manager of long-time MIA sponsor, the University of Liverpool, said: “The diagnostic potential of this innovative device is incredible and has the potential to benefit kidney transplant patients all over the world. 

“It is a cost effective solution that will give patients greater control of their own health and recovery.

“With development and manufacturing to be based in Merseyside, the economic benefits could also be significant and establish the North West as a player in the medical device arena.”

Watch the video below to see Anne Donnelly presenting Andrew with the Award.

In July, three finalists from this year's MIA monthly winners will each present to a panel of judges on their innovative product or service at the Awards final, in the hope of scooping the Merseyside Innovation Award 2017 and the £10,000 cash prize.  2017 will also be the second year that the MIA presents its Prestige Award. This award category is open to businesses with a turnover of £1m to £25m who are continuing to innovate on Merseyside, creating jobs and investment on a larger scale.

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