TURNING THE DOCTOR’S OFFICE INTO A ONE-STOP SHOP

SHANA KELLEY, professor, Leslie Dan Faculty of Pharmacy & Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Medicine

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THE PROBLEM

When it comes to getting diagnostic test results, minutes matter. Treatment options must be considered and important decisions must be made. Unfortunately, clinical specimens often have to be sent away for analysis, and it can take days and even weeks to receive a diagnosis.

THE INNOVATION

Shana Kelley has developed an automated instrument that can test samples on demand and on the spot, quickly and cost-effectively. The AuRA™ (Amplified Redox Assay) technology, which uses electrochemical detection methods to study specimens on a chip, can provide results in 15 to 20 minutes. What’s more, the tool can be used easily by a variety of health-care practitioners.

THE APPROACH

Kelley founded her start-up company, Xagenic, in 2010 with U of T engineering professor Ted Sargent and with the help of U of T’s Innovations & Partnerships Office. The company’s name is a mix of multiple references, including the extreme amplification that is required to read a specimen, the microorganisms that the instrument identifies and the electric circuits that the technology employs.

THE IMPACT

Aimed at the diagnosis of infectious diseases, the instrument can determine which germs caused a condition and whether or not the microbes are resistant to antibiotics. Therefore, in the future, patients will only need to visit the doctor once in order to be diagnosed with, and treated for, an illness. This streamlined process will improve patient care and reduce health-care costs.

WHAT’S NEXT?

Although Kelley’s invention must still undergo clinical testing, the goal is to bring it to market by 2015. Down the road, the technology may also be introduced in developing countries.

“You need rapid results to make quick decisions.”

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