Lör 2 mar / År 42 / Nr 5 2023

Inflammation Detected by magnetism

LifeAssays® in Lund has developed a technology that detects increased levels of, for instance, the C-reactive protein (CRP), an indicator of inflammation/infection, using the company’s proprietary magnetic detection technology.

The unique point-of-care technology platform, which the diagnostic company LifeAssays® was founded upon, was developed at Lund University. It’s composed of nano-size magnetic particles and a detector system for the identification of biological markers.

By mixing the target biological substance, i.e. the ’marker’, with target-specific antibodies on the magnetic nanoparticles an immune complex is formed as a solid-phase pellet. Since the pellet contains magnetic particles it possesses magnetic properties, which are measured quantitatively with the VetReader by detecting the change in inductance of the internal coil. The obtained signal is converted into a target marker concentration unit (μg/ml), by the system’s computer chip, using a mathematical algorithm. The chip contains all of the data specific to the analysis. The VetReader is a desktop unit that has been developed in-house by LifeAssays.

LifeAssay’s has had a strong focus on companion animals. Today the company has canine (dog), feline (cat) and equine (horse) Acute Phase Protein (APP) test systems on the market. APPs are important and early markers for inflammation/infection and a valuable tool in the initial diagnosis and follow up of treatment.

”We deliberately opted to focus on the veterinary applications made possible by this technology. We have developed applications for humans as well, but veterinary applications face lower regulatory demands making it a shorter route to market. In addition, the veterinary market is growing faster than the human diagnostic market,” says Anders Ingvarsson, CEO of Life Assays AB.

”That said, we did acquire the Finnish company Magnasense Technologies Oy, which gave us access to a CRP test for the human point-of-care market and a broadening of our patent portfolio. The acquisition was made by the turn of the year 2015/2016 and the technology is currently being miniaturised to the size of today’s pregnancy test, but unique as it gives a quantitative result. It requires only a single drop of blood and it’s easy for the veterinarian to administer the test, which can be used as a disposable,” he adds.

Magnetism vs Light
There are CRP tests on the market that use light to measure the CRP level in the blood plasma or serum.

”To use light in these tests has some draw backs. Our technology requires no calibration by the customer, has fewer sources of interference and gives a greater range between the lowest and highest levels of concentration that we can measure, making it more accurate,” Anders Ingvarsson explains.

LifeAssays was founded in the year 2000 and is listed on the Nordic Growth Market stock exchange in Stockholm since 2002.