Currently, if a chemotherapy patient develops an infection or a fever, they have to go to hospital to find out if they have Neutropenic sepsis (NS). Once there a blood test is taken to check their blood cell count and an immediate course of intravenous antibiotics is started in case they do indeed have the condition.
NeutroCheck are developing a finger prick blood test that can be done by the patient at home or on the go. Analysing the blood cell count normally takes place on a large lab-based piece of equipment, whilst the new small device aims to give an answer in a matter of minutes. Spotting the early signs of NS would enable patients to get to hospital as quickly as possible and get the treatment they need, potentially saving many lives.
At present, there is no tangible way to measure neutrophil levels outside of hospital, so the team plan to use the award to produce a fast, reliable and low-cost device which will improve safety and quality of life for cancer patients worldwide
Dr Saif Ahmad, Clinical Oncologist, Cambridge University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust and Director of NeutroCheck Limited, says “We are delighted to have been given this boost to develop our innovation and progress our prototype. We hope NeutroCheck will enable patients to quickly, accurately and simply check their neutrophil count in their own home from a finger-prick of blood. This will give them reassurance about when to go to hospital and avoid unnecessary hospital visits as currently half of patients who present do not have reduced neutrophils on their hospital blood test.”
Dr Saif Ahmad, Dr Nicole Weckman and Umaima Ahmad
Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust