SMARTChip is a purine biosensor which uses a finger-prick sample of blood to detect ischaemic brain events that occur during a stroke. It’s been developed to address the need for a rapid diagnostic test to help decision making in early stages of a stroke.
SMARTChip was created by Prof Nick Dale of the University of Warwick and developed in a NIHR i4i research study carried out at UHCW NHS Foundation Trust under vascular surgeon Prof Chris Imray in collaboration with stroke physician Prof Christine Roffe of UHNM NHS Trust.
Currently, patients suspected of a stroke are taken to A&E to have a CT scan as confirmation before given thrombolysis treatment; however, the length of time it takes to recognise stroke symptoms is critical as delay in treatment leads to increased damage to the brain. Furthermore, there are no diagnostic tests to help clinicians and paramedics to identify stroke, resulting in high levels of misdiagnosis and delays in treatment.
SMARTChip was created to reduce delays by diagnosing stroke faster and better informing clinical decision making.
Research proved that, at the onset of a stroke, the brain releases a detectable quantity of purines into the blood. Purines are produced and released by cells undergoing the oxidative stress that occurs during a stroke. SMARTChip measures these purines to detect and diagnose symptoms of a stroke faster, improving patient outcomes and saving the NHS time and money.
There were many practical challenges to overcome with the first proof-of-concept device developed (SMARTCap) including difficulty experienced by nurses accurately and rapidly collecting and measuring blood samples in test tubes. This led to modification of the design and the development of SMARTChip. SMARTChip only requires a finger-prick sample of blood thereby simplifying, miniaturising and speeding up the technology.