A DMTC project team leading advances in the development of a field-deployable, handheld point of care diagnostic device has been honoured with a National Innovation Award at the international Land Forces 2018 Exposition in Adelaide.
The project involves industry partners Lumos Diagnostics, a wholly-owned subsidiary of medical technology firm Planet Innovation, and Anteo Technologies, with support from research partner Deakin University.
Dr Mark Hodge, CEO of DMTC, and Dr Sacha Dopheide from Lumos Diagnostics were presented with the award in the Combat Equipment and Mobility category by the Minister for Defence, Christopher Pyne.
The DMTC team has worked collaboratively to adapt the existing high-performance test cartridge to allow testing for a panel of defence-relevant infectious disease agents. To date, the project team has delivered a fully integrated diagnostic system with improved sensitivity, specificity and performance costs over current solutions.
The breakthroughs achieved so far have significantly reduced the time of diagnosis from days or hours to just 10 to 15 minutes. This allows for appropriate responses and treatment regimes to be determined at the point of care, and to limit the spread of disease among deployed force populations.
"This award is further recognition of DMTC’s track record in innovation, and the way we always keep the needs of the Defence customer at the centre of our considerations," Dr Hodge said.
The benefits of this innovation include the option to modify the viral or bacterial target depending on the potential biological threat in an area of operations, and providing a simple, robust piece of equipment that can operate in any environment where forces are deployed.
The project is not only providing an important national health security capability but also creating new market and export opportunities for Australian industry.
The system is equally applicable and beneficial to civilian health outcomes as it is to defence and national security outcomes. The next step in the project – to develop the technology even further – has already been approved and is expected to commence shortly.
DMTC creates and enhances Australian industrial capability by leading and facilitating collaborative technology development and innovation work in defence and related sectors. DMTC has a strong track record in manufacturing, engineering and applied research and development.
The medical countermeasures (MCM) activity led by DMTC began in 2016 and builds on extensive work carried out by the Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group and the Commonwealth Science and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).
To date there has been $9 million investment from the Australian government in applied and translational MCM research projects being delivered through DMTC. The DMTC co-investment model means every dollar invested in a project by government research agencies is matched by $2 to $3 of cash or in-kind contributions from industry and research partners.
The DMTC program is guided by a broad national health security stakeholder group that includes the Surgeon General of the ADF, DST Group, CSIRO, MTPConnect, the Department of Health and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.