Blood microRNAs are biomarkers for a wide range of diseases but their measurement is time-consuming, technically challenging and expensive. We propose a sample preparation solution for the detection of our validated microRNA biomarker.
This project combines the microfluidic engineering expertise of HWU with the clinical expertise at UoE/NHS Lothian in a translational study of a very common, but neglected, medical emergency: paracetamol overdose. Paracetamol overdose is directly responsible for 90,000 UK hospital attendances/year and 50,000 admissions for treatment (comparable numbers to COPD, MI and hip fracture). We aim to demonstrate that our sample preparation can isolate blood microRNA in the setting of a busy hospital emergency department, so allow the fast and cost-effective diagnosis of paracetamol liver injury and, beyond this initial proof-of-concept indication, multiple other medical emergencies.
Despite recent advances made in the lab-on-a-chip field, sample preparation remains a major technical hurdle for the large-scale commercialization and public access to point-of-care (POC) biomedical devices. Our integrated platform project will build on a developing collaboration and existing resources at both universities to accelerate the development of a fast microRNA purification platform and validate it for the recovery of a novel microRNA biomarker that sensitively and specifically detects drug-induced liver injury.
Ultimately, the platform will facilitate rapid and accurate diagnosis of organ injury and, combined with a lab-based or POC analytical tool, could potentially rule in or rule out multiple diseases at first presentation to hospital.