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  • Developing advanced biometal imaging technology

LGC is an international life sciences measurement and testing company which provides reference materials, genomics solutions and analytical testing products and services, based on innovation and their own intellectual property.

The company operates globally in markets which underpin the safety, health and security of the public and the regulation of industry.

The challenge

The incidence of age-related diseases, for example Alzheimer’s disease and age-related macular degeneration, is increasing rapidly in line with society’s changing demographies.

Biometal imaging is a sensitive innovative diagnostic tool that will impact clinical practice in the identification and evaluation of metal disorders. Creating images associated with these diseases and their progression is key to understanding their causes and predicting the likely outcomes for patients.

A specialist technique known as Laser Ablation Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) can be used to create images of tissue sections to show the distribution of metals and metalloids.

However, the full clinical and commercial potential of this approach has been limited by poor accuracy, large measurement errors and lengthy imaging times.

The solution

Building on existing scientific collaborations, an 18-month Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) – supported by £48,000 funding from Innovate UK – brought together expertise from the University’s Department of Chemistry and LGC to enhance the speed and detection power of metal imaging of biological tissues.

The benefits

The KTP helped LGC to develop closer relationships with the instrument manufacturer, and industrial and clinical end-users securing the company’s place in the marketplace.

The 18-month partnership also provided LGC with access to new technology and expertise – expanding its portfolio of reference methods and materials, calibration services and collaborative and
contract research – stregthening its place at the forefront of a rapidly developing area of bioscience.

As a result of the successful KTP, the company forecasts an increase in turnover of £500,000 over three years, with the enhanced capabilities currently being exploited for on-going collaboration
and business opportunities.

This KTP has allowed us to capitalise on our embedded expertise and capabilities such that we are better positioned to realise identified business opportunities.

Dr Julian Braybrook
Director of Measurement Science and Partnerships - LGC