A team of researchers who are developing a device that has the potential to revolutionise respiratory and intensive care medicine are to meet later this week.
The new tool will enable doctors to monitor disease deep inside the lungs of critically ill patients and monitor changes in their blood.
The PROTEUS research team will illustrate the project's aims and ambitions, as well as hear from Professor John Watson, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
The meeting, taking place at The Queen's Medical Research Institute (QMRI), will involve academics from Edinburgh, Bath and Heriot-Watt universities.
The PROTEUS project, which started last year, will see a multi-disciplinary team, led by Professor Mark Bradley of the University's School of Chemistry, create an imaging and sensing device that can be passed into patients' lungs and into blood vessels.
The microscopic tool and its associated technologies will detect and monitor infections, inflammation and scarring in the lung using advanced fibre optic technology, new chemistries, microelectronics and computer machine leaning.
It will be able to detect and monitor up to 20 key indicators of disease.
Potentially fatal lung complications are common among patients on ventilation in intensive care units (ICU).
Along with measuring things such as oxygen, acidity and glucose in the patient's lungs and blood, the device will deliver tiny amounts of tracer compounds that will detect bacteria, fungi and other processes that could damage the lung.
The signals from these compounds will be transmitted to a computer to be converted into real-time, easily understood disease readouts for doctors,
The researchers say that having such information quickly at the bedside will transform respiratory medicine through dramatically improving the ability to accurately diagnose, monitor and treat lung disease.
PROTEUS was launched last year with an award of £11.2 million from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).
We are delighted to welcome Professor Watson to our showcase event. We have brought together an incredibly strong team of researchers to work on this project – basic scientists and clinical researchers and we are making great progress.
We are enormously grateful to the EPSRC for supporting this collaboration to develop game-changing technology to empower us in respiratory medicine. PROTEUS is a unique opportunity to embrace the challenge of fusing our multidisciplinary expertise to directly impact patient health. We are faced with the biggest challenge of modern medicine, the rise of multi-drug resistant infections that demand better diagnosis, basic understanding and treatment. We are all excited and honored to have this opportunity to work in PROTEUS.