NEOUCOM, KSU develop pathogen-ID technology

The system can detect and identify disease-causing agents in just minutes.
KENT -- The development of technology to detect bioterrorism agents and pathogens in food and water could lead to new jobs and economic expansion in northeast Ohio.
The Northeastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine and Kent State University developed technology that has led to two licensing agreements that could bring economic development to the region.
The liquid crystal biosensor technology has been co-licensed to two companies, Oringen LLC of Tallmadge, Ohio, and Pathogen Detection Systems of Boulder, Colo., for further development.
Each company has committed to bringing research and development, production, sales and other jobs to Kent and surrounding areas, once the technology has been developed.
The liquid crystal biosensor technology is expected to change radically the detection and identification of harmful pathogens, reducing the time needed to identify disease-causing agents from as long as three days to just minutes.
Combined expertise
The collaborating researchers combined their expertise in liquid crystals and biomedical sciences to develop a device that can quickly detect harmful microbes, such as anthrax or plague. The technology can be used in environmental protection, homeland security and medical diagnoses.
The biosensor works by placing antibodies into liquid crystals and then introducing microbes (bacteria or viruses that cause disease) that are attracted to these antibodies. Using this technology, operators can identify specific disease-causing agents within minutes. The biosensor can be used to diagnose infectious diseases of all kinds, as well as bioterror agents.
The research was funded in part through an $800,000 grant to the medical school from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, a $100,000 grant to Kent State from the National Science Foundation and a Research Challenge grant from the Ohio Board of Regents.

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