UW Bioengineering Professor Paul Yager has received $4,197,407 of funding from the U.S. Department of Defense/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to continue a project which aims to develop a small, paper-based device that could quickly test for infectious diseases in low-resource environments. With this new funding, Dr. Yager is the third-highest recipient of research funding amongst UW Medicine faculty in Q2 2015 (April-June), according to a July report from the UW Medicine Office of Research and Graduate Education.
This new award adds to nearly $14M of funding previously awarded to the project, Multiplexable Autonomous Disposables for Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests for LRSs (MAD NAAT). The MAD NAAT project investigates the potential applications of the 2-dimensional paper network (2DPN) for point-of care diagnosis of infectious disease. The project has seen rapid progress from an ambitious concept to its current iteration as a feasible platform with promising potential for broad applications.
The project aims to replicate the diagnostic abilities of point-of-care nucleic acid amplification tests conducted in sophisticated labs by trained personnel, which are out of reach in the developing world. MAD NAAT aims to bring medical testing to the patient via a low-cost, highly sensitive and simple platform that anyone can use, anywhere, from the home to doctors’ clinics in developing countries, without needing access to power, running water or special equipment. The device would detect pathogens from a bodily fluid sample, such as a nasal swab, and quickly provide a visual readout on the test paper, which a patient could photograph using a smartphone and send to a physician for diagnosis. The test could diagnose a wide range of infectious diseases, including MRSA, influenza, HIV, malaria or Ebola.