DegraSense Ltd: Commercial sense and sensor abilities

October 14, 2008,

A new company, DegraSense Ltd, has been established to develop a point of care dental diagnostic that could improve the treatment of periodontal disease and other inflammatory conditions.

The new Queen Mary spin out aims to commercialise novel protease biosensor technology developed from the research activities of Dr Steffi Krause from the School of Engineering and Materials Science, and Dr Mike Watkinson from the School of Biological and Chemical Sciences.

Drs Krause and Watkinson believe there are potential applications for the biosensor technology in a range of industries including environmental and food testing, but they will initially focus on developing a non-invasive sensor capable of monitoring inflammation and bacterial infection. The initial application will be the diagnosis and treatment of periodontal disease, estimated to cost the NHS £250 million per year.

There are currently no accurate clinical methods for dentists to distinguish between active and dormant sites in periodontal disease progression. DegraSense plans to develop a low cost, disposable biosensor that will enable a dentist to identify areas of active inflammation immediately prior to treatment. This will enable more efficient targeting of expensive and labour intensive surgical treatment for patients with gum disease.

Dr Krause, who has been appointed founder Director of the new company said: "This is a new and exciting prospect. It brings together a number of years of research and the involvement of industrial partners so we can push forward towards a product that can make a real difference to dental treatment everywhere. The diagnosis of periodontal disease should reduce the incidences of invasive and uncomfortable dental procedures to the patient and at the same time should bring significant savings both to the patient and the health care provider."

Source: Queen Mary, University of London

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