A Medical Device Daily

The University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC; Rochester, New York) has received a U.S. patent for a diagnostic technology designed to rapidly and accurately screen for organisms such as bacteria and other infectious agents. Lighthouse Biosciences (also Rochester), a life sciences company, is the exclusive worldwide license holder of the technology.

The company's technology platform, NanoLantern, is a new method of identifying genetic sequences from biological samples, a process that can be used to detect any organism or genetic feature by identifying its unique DNA fingerprint, according to Lighthouse.

The NanoLantern consists of an array of DNA probes that can be programmed from a database of known genetic signatures to simultaneously screen for multiple individual targets using a single sample of blood, urine, cells, or other substance with organic content, the company said.

The U.S. patent is being awarded for the process the technology uses to identify DNA sequences. The method, first developed by University of Rochester scientists in 2003, promises to be faster and more precise than other existing models, Lighthouse said.

"This patent represents an important milestone in developing the company's intellectual property portfolio," said Rand Henke, CEO of Lighthouse Biosciences. "It addresses a breakthrough method that will allow the company to design and make at a low cost a very wide range of probes for the detection of most pathogens."

The company is in the process of developing a prototype that consists of a series of disposable biosensor cartridges – or labs on a chip – that will be housed in a workstation that can be deployed in hospitals, doctor's offices, nursing homes, or any other health care setting.

While the technology has a wide array of potential applications in healthcare, agriculture, food safety, water quality, and national security, Lighthouse is initially focused on the field of hospital-acquired infections (HAI). HAI are infections that patients receive during their care that are not related to any pre-existing medical condition.

University of Rochester scientists Benjamin Miller, PhD; Todd Krauss, PhD; and Christopher Strohsahl, PhD, first developed the underlying technology for the company's NanoLantern platform. In addition to faculty appointments at the university, all three also hold corporate positions and/or equity positions in the company.