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NHS evaluation for Upfront Diagnostics stroke test

Image: Northumbria Healthcare NHS

Upfront Diagnostics has started the last phase of clinical evaluation of its LVOne point-of-care rapid blood test to rapidly identify when stroke is caused by a blood clot blocking a main blood vein.

The Allia FBC-based company is focused on discovering novel biomarkers that can be applied to medical diagnosis.

Upfront Diagnostics was founded (as PockiT) in 2017 by University of Cambridge students Gonzalo Ladreda, Dr Edoardo Gaude, Marcos Ladreda, and Dr Joshua Bernstock.

Having received £1.6million in funding earlier this year, it has scaled up the technology and its accuracy for identifying large vessel occlusion strokes amongst real-world patients.

Globally, there are more than 20 million strokes annually. LVOs account for 30 percent of strokes but are responsible for 95 per cent of disabilities and deaths. The chance of recovery is much improved if a treatment called ‘thrombectomy’ is performed within hours of symptom onset.

Speeding up treatment is challenging because LVO patients are hard to identify outside a hospital due to many other conditions showing similar symptoms, whilst stroke can also be caused by blockage of small blood vessels and bleeding from blood vessels, which are unsuitable for thrombectomy.

In a large clinical study led by Newcastle University Stroke Research Group, NHS hospitals in Northern England are the first in the world to test patients with stroke symptoms using the portable and rapid blood test developed in Cambridge.

The Rapid Assay Diagnostic for Acute Stroke Recognition (RADAR) study promises to enhance stroke diagnosis by initiating a clinical trial involving over 500 patients across multiple hospitals. It is being conducted in Northern England with the support of SBRI Healthcare and NIHR Clinical Research Network at the Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Royal Victoria Infirmary, University Hospital of North Durham and Royal Blackburn Hospital.

Gonzalo Ladreda, co-founder and CEO of Upfront Diagnostics, said:

“We are excited to pioneer a change in stroke management worldwide. After many years of developing and testing this revolutionary technology, we are entering the latest phase of trials before commercialisation.
“We remain committed to our mission of increasing access to thrombectomy. We anticipate impacting millions of lives in the coming years.”

Christopher Price, professor of stroke research, Newcastle University and NHS consultant, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“Each year in the UK there are approximately 15,000 stroke patients with LVO who are suitable for thrombectomy treatment. The RADAR study will provide essential information about how accurately and quickly the LVOne test can identify these patients amongst a much bigger hospital population of patients with similar symptoms.”
Prof Price added: “If our clinical research across the North of England shows that the LVOne test can accurately identify those patients who should go directly to a specialist hospital for emergency thrombectomy, then it will reduce delays in treatment and improve recovery from the devastating effects of severe stroke.”


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