Brain injuries, and the effects thereof, have generated headlines of late, whether on the battlefields of the Middle East or football fields significantly closer to home.
Awarded a $5 million federal contract in September, Fayetteville-based SFC Fluidics continues to work on the development of a handheld device that would make possible on-site diagnosis of traumatic brain injury within minutes of head trauma. Such a device surely would be welcomed not just on battlefields and ball fields, but emergency rooms, too.
“With a suspected brain injury, every second counts,” SFC vice president Dr. Chris Evans said in a September news release.
In a telephone interview earlier this month, Virtual Incubation Co. President Calvin Goforth said SFC’s product has the potential to meet both a “big market opportunity and great societal need.”
“It would improve the ability to distinguish head injuries as needing medical attention or not,” Goforth said, “and what type of medical attention is needed.”
Here’s how it works: Using only a pinprick sample of blood, first responders can use the device to conduct rapid, detailed blood analysis within a single, sealed disposable chip. Quantitative levels of specific biomarkers released by the brain when injured will be displayed on an easy-to-read screen, along with an indicator alerting the operator to the degree of injury — none, mild, moderate or severe.
Additionally, the ability to obtain biomarker profiles in real-time will provide researchers and the medical community with new insight into the dynamic nature of TBI, and might allow for the development of improved intervention and clinical management strategies.
According to the SFC release, more than 1.5 million Americans suffer head injuries each year. SFC’s device is scheduled to begin clinical trials for FDA approval in the summer of 2013, and Goforth said the product could be ready for widespread use within five years.
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