What if patients could walk into the pharmacy and get a self diagnostic test for conditions that currently require clinical laboratory testing?

Or what if patients could get a an instant test result relative to their post-surgical condition after being treated for cardiac disease or breast cancer?

Cambridge Consultants, a product development firm, has reportedly launched the technology for enabling a new generation of high-sensitivity, rapid diagnostic tests that can be self-administered in “near-patient” settings either in conjunction with medical professionals’ guidance, or at home. The firm states that this new technology can actually detect a problem far earlier than current methods by using a novel spectroscopy technique and an advanced electronic detector.

Current self diagnostic tests, such as home pregnancy tests, do not demand the sensitivity requirements of some clinical tests because the biomarker they are trying to detect is present in significant amounts. However, Cambridge Consultants' technology takes advantage of Time Resolved Fluorescence, which they describe as an innovative spectroscopy technique.

Combined with a small electronic reader developed by Cambridge, the new platform delivers over four orders of magnitude more sensitivity when compared to existing tests, allowing a wide range of other biomarkers to be measured that are present in far smaller quantities. According to the company, this new technology is accurate and low cost enough for use in near-patient situations or developing nations where laboratory resources are at a minimum.

“While there have been immense advances in surgical and pharmaceutical technology in recent years, near-patient or home diagnostics is still mainly limited to pregnancy and glucose testing,” commented Simon Burnell, Head of Diagnostics at Cambridge Consultants. “Our TRF technology can now deliver the sensitivity required to satisfy the demand for earlier diagnosis and the detection of a wider range of biomarkers in a very simple format. Moreover, the technology is in a position for a rapid transition to a consumer product, meaning consumers could be seeing the new generation of tests on shelves in 18 months.”

Cambridge Consultants has already demonstrated the detection of a cardiac disease marker and is continuing to develop other tests.