- Toumazou developed game-changing rapid “do-it-yourself” DNA test
- Microchip instead of genetics lab: analysis via USB stick saves time and money
- British scientist is pioneer of personalised medical diagnostics
- 50 patents secure prolific inventor Toumazou place in growth market worth billions
- EPO President Benoît Battistelli: “Toumazou’s work creates immense medical benefits and opens up unexpected opportunities.”
- Inventor Professor Toumazou: “In twenty years… doctors will be looking at your medical future instead of looking at your medical history.”
- Cosmetic application takes the stigma away from medical device
52-year-old UK top medical engineer Christofer Toumazou is considered to be a pioneer in the field of personalised medical diagnostics. Thanks to his work, DNA can now be analysed within minutes and outside a lab environment. Thus, medicine is taking a big step from healing illnesses to preventing them. Acknowledging this achievement, the European Patent Office (EPO) has nominated him as a finalist for the European Inventor Award 2014 in the category “Research”. Europe’s “Oscar” for technological innovation will be awarded in Berlin on 17 June.
Having studied electrical engineering, Toumazou started his career developing energy-efficient microchips for mobile phones. He turned out to be so successful that, aged 33, he became the youngest professor ever at Imperial College London.
The UK scientist, who is of Cypriot descent, modelled his technology on the human body’s own “local intelligence” principle for monitoring and supplying cells and organs whereby local detection of conditions precisely govern the body’s own automatic therapeutic response. Therefore, Toumazou uses special silicon microchips that are able to immediately and locally analyse data to provide new, fast and easy applications in the field of intelligent medical diagnostics.
“The ground-breaking results of Christofer Toumazou’s work underline the importance of interdisciplinary research, especially in medical diagnostics. With his invention, diagnosis becomes much faster and more cost-efficient. This paves the way for a medical science that puts the focus on prevention. Knowing about health risks and taking early action is better than any drug,” said EPO President Benoît Battistelli upon announcing that Toumazou is a finalist for the European Inventor Award 2014.
Toumazou’s interest in genetic diseases was mainly brought about because of his son Marcus, who suffers from a rare genetic kidney disease. “I felt the desperate need to apply this technology to early detection,” he said. “If we could detect something early enough it becomes preventative medicine and people like my son Marcus could have gone about their lifestyle in a very different way.”
His revolutionary innovation of a rapid DNA test via a USB stick puts this concept within reach. The invention is based on a microchip that detects genetic disorders in human DNA within a few minutes. It is therefore possible to establish, for example, a genetic predisposition to Alzheimer’s and other inherited diseases but also if a patient is able to metabolise certain drugs. What makes the invention even more special is the fact that the chip can be mounted on a USB stick which loads the results within 20 minutes on a computer. Such a “do-it-yourself” DNA test could in the foreseeable future be offered by pharmacies as a kind of a “pocket lab”.