Thursday, March 24, 2005


Besides cell phones and iPods, you may be able to carry a small device that can quickly identify the ingredients in a possibly deadly chemical compound left by a terrorist or an accident. Your doctor may also have a small device in his or her office that will not only identify what ails you but whether a pharmaceutical will be of benefit to you, in particular, or cause you to have an adverse, perhaps fatal reaction.

In the first instance, The First Defender is an all-optical system. The hand held device developed by Ahura Corporation, Wilmington, MA enables first responders to accurately identify liquids and solids in seconds in the field. It accesses a large data base including chemical weapons, explosives, toxic chemicals, white-powders, narcotics, contraband, and forensic evidence. It has a fast start up---15 seconds from cold start to first measurement.

"We are committed to become the leader in innovative ultra compact portable instrumentation," Dr. Daryoosh Vakhshoori, Founder and CEO, says: "We are driven to develop cost-effective products for first responders. We will continue to push the technological envelop on product performance while moving quickly to transition our designs into production for customers in government and industry."

New technology may also help identify and treat what ails you, as an individual. Instead of the standard hit-or-miss approach where it can take multiple attempts to find the right drug and the right dose, doctors will be able to analyze your genetic profile and prescribe the best available drug therapy and dose from the start.

For example, this technology can answer:

• Whether you have a viral or bacterial infection.

• What medication will be affective for you.

Motorola’s eSensor™ DNA Detection System has the ability to rapidly and specifically identify the cause of your infection and its potential drug susceptibility based on your personal genetic make-up.
Motorola Life Sciences of Pasadena, CA., sold the first eSensor DNA Biochip Assays-which are about the size of postage stamps---to Sanofi-Synethelabo’s research organization in Malvern, PA. for use in the initial phase of human testing of new drug. It will be just the beginning for this new technology. The FDA recently approved the first laboratory assessment, the Amplichip Cytochrome P450 Genotyping Test, which will also enable physicians to use genetic information to select the right doses of certain medications for patients with cardiac, psychiatric or malignant diseases.

"We hope ultimately to bring pharmacogenomics, a way in which to foster the personalizing of medicine, to every healthcare professional's prescription pad for the benefit of their patients and US consumers," says Janet Woodcock, MD, FDA's Acting Deputy Commissioner for Operations .

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