Healthcare potential of SERS technology featured in high profile

March 2014 – for immediate release
Further information: Chris Pockett, +44 1453 524133
Healthcare potential of SERS technology featured in high profile publications
Potential healthcare applications of surface enhanced Raman scattering (SERS) – the detection
method behind Renishaw Diagnostics Limited’s (RDL) RenDx® technology – have recently been
described in two high profile UK publications. The papers, which have attracted national media
interest, highlight the application of SERS technology to the diagnosis of two potentially life threatening
SERS forms the basis of RDL’s RenDx multiplex assay system which, combined with a high
throughput polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay, provides a highly sensitive multiplexed screening
approach for infectious disease research. A vibrational spectroscopy technique, SERS can detect up
to 9 targets from a single sample, significantly more than traditional fluorescence methods. The
platform is therefore ideal for testing applications in which a number of different pathogens may be
present, sometimes within the same sample, and could aid clinicians in quick, targeted diagnosis, so
improving patient care.
In collaboration with Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, Wales, RDL has recently published data
on the use of the RenDx platform for identification of different types of Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) 1.
Differentiation of high and low risk virus genotypes is critical, as persistent high risk HPV infection can
cause cervical cancer. Using the SERS approach, researchers were able to differentiate four unique
high risk HPV genotypes, in addition to other high and low risk types, providing a significant advantage
over existing assays. Without this type-specific information, healthcare providers are at risk of either
overburdening patients at minimal risk of cancer, or under treating high-risk individuals. Providing more
comprehensive information should allow the most appropriate treatment of patients. This approach
was the subject of a recent article within Chemistry World, the monthly news magazine published by
the Royal Society of Chemistry2.
An additional paper published by RDL’s collaborators at the University of Strathclyde, Scotland,
provides further evidence of the use of SERS in clinical applications 3. Based on IP owned by RDL,
researchers have developed an assay for the rapid detection of meningitis causing bacteria in cerebral
spinal fluid (CSF). Bacterial meningitis can be life threatening, with immunocompromised and young
patients being particularly vulnerable. These patients are susceptible to a wide array of infections, so
rapid diagnosis and early treatment is crucial. Using a combination of lambda exonuclease and SERS,
the group were successful in detecting and quantifying three clinically relevant bacterial pathogens,
which could eliminate time consuming culture based methods. The subject of a recent BBC News
article4, the work is a powerful demonstration of the application of SERS to the analysis of clinically
relevant targets, and highlights significant advantages over existing approaches.
Rupert Jones, General Manager at RDL, said “These papers provide an excellent showcase for the
use of our technology in clinical applications. Our work with Cardiff University has emphasised the
open access nature of the RenDx technology and the ease in which existing PCR methods can be
transferred to a SERS platform. In addition, the media interest in the work of our collaborators at the
University of Strathclyde underlines the importance of our R&D efforts on meningitis, one of the
disease areas within our development pipeline”.
Anal. Methods, 2014, 6, 1288-1290
Catching viruses associated with cervical cancer
Chem. Sci., 2014, 5, 1030-1040
Lasers used in meningitis tests by Strathclyde University scientists
About Renishaw Diagnostics Limited
Renishaw Diagnostics Limited (RDL) is part of the Renishaw Group, a world leader in engineering,
medical device and spectroscopy technologies, and represents part of the Group’s growing focus and
expansion into the healthcare sector. RDL is focussed on the development and commercialisation of
the RenDx multiplex assay system to provide automated, multiplex, high sensitivity in vitro screening
for clinical research into infectious disease.
Renishaw Diagnostics is based in Glasgow, Scotland and further information can be found at
- ENDS -
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