Almost every disease leaves a characteristic molecular fingerprint in a person’s metabolism. Finding an easy and fast way to read these traces would improve the quality of diagnostics greatly. The company Cetics (Esslingen, Germany) claims to have found just such a fast track.
“You can trace every molecule with infrared spectroscopy, since it has an unambiguous vibration spectrum,” Martin Winter, cofounder of Cetics told medtechinsider. “We use mid-infrared spectroscopy to analyse biological samples, which provides dense and specific information. With multivariate data analysis methods, we find patterns that point to certain diseases.” The company detected, for example, a pattern that is associated with Alzheimer’s disease in a medical experiment with 80 patients.
The focal point of the technology is a flow cell designed to measure aqueous biological samples. The flow cell features nanometre-scale precision, thus offering high accuracy. According to Cetics, testing requires no sample preparation or disposables and can be performed with less than 100 microlitres of sample volume.
Currently used for cell-based assays in toxicology, the technology could be ready for diagnostic applications by 2015. “The feasibility analysis has been concluded; now the clinical studies are coming,” says Winter.