World leaders in the field of diagnostics will assemble at Dublin City University next week to participate in the launch of the Biomedical Diagnostics Institute by the Taoiseach Bertie Ahern (Irish Prime Minister).
The agenda for the event will include internationally-renowned speakers including Professor Adam Heller, founder of diagnostics giant Therasense. The event will also include a panel discussion entitled “Who Will Monitor Your Health?” on the controversial topic of access to personal health information by third parties such as health insurance companies.
The development of sophisticated diagnostic technologies means that more information will be available to our doctors than ever before. The health benefits offered by these advances are clear, but there are other potential uses for this information that have broader societal implications. For example, could your health insurance policy be linked to your compliance with a healthcare regime, monitored by diagnostic tests? The panel will include Oliver Tattan, CEO and founder of Vivas Health, Gerry McQuaid, Commercial Director of O2 Mobile Communications, and Dr. Karina Halley, Lecturer in Ethics at TCD.
Professor Heller’s talk will focus on the founding of Therasense, a company which developed blood glucose monitoring technology for diabetes management, based on discoveries made in his lab at the University of Texas. TheraSense was acquired in 2004 by Abbott Laboratories for $1.25 billion, the largest acquisition ever in biosensors. TheraSense based sales of Abbott in 2005 exceeded $500 million and the company employs 1,500 people worldwide.
The Biomedical Diagnostics Institute
The Biomedical Diagnostics Institute (BDI) is a unique industrial-clinical-academic research collaboration focused on the development of next generation biomedical diagnostic devices for use in the home or at the Point-of-Care. These advanced devices will enable the detection of life-threatening events long before the critical stage is reached - thus improving people’s lives and enhancing the efficiency of our healthcare system. Research is being carried out to exploit “markers” in blood, breath and saliva that will give these early warnings in illnesses like cancer, heart disease and diabetes, with “exquisite accuracy” according to Professor Brian MacCraith, Director of the Institute.
The integration of fundamental and applied research, from the wide-ranging scientific and engineering disciplines required, into working device demonstrators is a unique feature of the BDI. The BDI brings together key academic researchers, led and hosted by Dublin City University, including the Royal College Surgeons Ireland, National University Ireland Galway and University College Cork; six industrial partners, Åmic, Analog Devices, Becton Dickinson, Enfer Scientific, Hospira, and Inverness Medical Innovations/Unipath, as well as the clinical environment, to form an integrated, cohesive, multi-disciplinary team of more than 70 people.
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