Innovative inkjet printing allows diagnostics on demand

02 September 2015 3 min. read

Cambridge Consultants has developed a new inkjet printing technology that could potentially radically alter the diagnostics market. The firm’s XylemDx technology turns sheets of paper into diagnostic test cartridges to be used for a variety of signs, allowing for instant personalised health testing.

In the world of today - with aging populations, an increased drive for healthcare efficiency and the rise of ‘consumer healthcare’ - the demand for point-of-care (POC) diagnostics is rising. These POC tests, however, come at a considerably higher cost than centralised lab tests.

To allow for a wider use of diagnostics on demand, by considerably lowering the costs of these POC tests, product design and development firm Cambridge Consultants has developed a new inkjet printing technology that creates a diagnostic test cartridge from a single sheet of paper.

Cambridge Consultants - XylemDx

The XylemDx technology can be used for a wide array of signs, ranging from the latest strain of the flu virus to specific biomarkers for genetic heart conditions. As the technology produces tests that are low-cost and printed in large quantities, it can not only be used to personalise testing, but also to monitor pandemic events, such as Ebola.

The XylemDx technology turns sheets of paper into a variety of different diagnostic tests by configuring them with a bespoke set of test modules, such as electronic, thermal, fluidic, optical or biological reagent modules. Each test module can be produced on the same fabrication device using inkjet-based printing techniques and can be configured for a variety of readers, such as USB-powered devices, smartphones or complex diagnostic instruments.

“Diagnostic tests underpin crucial healthcare decisions so it’s vital they are as fast, accurate, flexible and cost-effective as possible. Early diagnosis and better monitoring of conditions reduces expensive complications and keeps people out of hospital – as well as improving quality of life,” explains John Pritchard, Head of Diagnostics at Cambridge Consultants. “Cambridge Consultants has a rich history of inkjet printing and we’ve now brought that expertise to the world of POC diagnostics. Combined with our extensive scientific and engineering knowledge – including our long track record in the low-cost, high-performance optics that many of these tests require – it’s resulted in a radical new way of providing diagnostics on demand.”

Cambridge Consultants is known for its technologies that are set to alter the healthcare industry. Other innovations of the firm include its smart injection pen for diabetes patients, its surgical tool Chimaera, the Diagnostics For All tool to test Ebola and DropTag – its Drugs shipping monitoring technology.