QUÉBEC CITY, Feb. 29, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - Québec's National Optics Institute (INO) is proud to welcome the honorable Christian Paradis, Minister of Industry and Minister of State (Agriculture) and Steve MacLean, president of the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) for the launch of its brand new MicroFlow technology.
The flow cytometer has been the standard instrument for examining biological specimens since the 1960s. But it is a costly and complex device that can only be operated by highly qualified professionals in medical and life sciences laboratories. In practice this means delays in processing specimens and longer waits before starting appropriate medical treatment. Moreover, people in many parts of the world don't have access to flow cytometry - precisely because of the human and material resources required.
With its expertise in fiber optics and lasers, and support from the CSA, INO has designed an instrument with the capacity to diagnose infectious diseases onsite. This device will not only expedite diagnosis, it is also less costly, fully automatic, and portable (about the size of a shoebox). CSA astronaut Chris Hadfield will be the first to use Microflow during his mission on the International Space Station in 2013.
Here on earth, MicroFlow opens the door to a host of applications. Its portability makes it possible to affordably monitor the immune status of HIV-positive patients in developing countries. It will also be a boon in Canada's remote northern communities, where it isn't uncommon to travel 200 km or more to have access to regional hospitals and diagnostic tests. And in more densely populated parts of Canada MicroFlow could substantially reduce wait times for diagnosing infectious diseases, since analysis can be carried out immediately and onsite.
In space, MicroFlow will help ensure that astronauts stay healthy on the longer missions that the international community plans to mount to reach asteroids and Mars.
Handyem—Bringing MicroFlow to Market
INO's expertise in cycometry is well on its way to market. A MicroFlow instrument for onsite diagnosis and pharmacological monitoring is under development. Summer 2011 saw the creation of the 27th INO spinoff company when the institute licensed intellectual property for on-earth medical applications of cyclometry research to a newly minted Canadian firm, Handyem.
A leading technology designer and developer, INO is the largest center for industrial optics and photonics expertise in Canada. The leader in its field internationally, INO has so far completed over 4,500 custom R&D contracts for Quebec and Canadian companies working in a variety of fields.
Image with caption: "INO's MicroFlow (CNW Group/INO (NATIONAL OPTICS INSTITUTE))". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120229_C8580_PHOTO_EN_10617.jpg
For further information:
Richard Deschênes, Strategic and Commercial Support Manager
Institut national d'optique
Phone: (418) 657-7406, extension 2321
Email: [email protected]