University of Calgary

New machine could help diagnose autoimmune diseases earlier

Sept. 6, 2012

A new diagnostic tool is now being used at the University of Calgary’s Faculty of Medicine. The BioFlash allows researchers to detect biomarkers, such as antibodies, in the blood of patients with various autoimmune diseases such as lupus and arthritis. The technology is a rapid assay that aids in the early diagnosis of people affected by these diseases.

“The challenge with autoimmune disease is that it is hard to diagnose early and accurately, yet early diagnosis is key before any irreversible damage is done,” says Dr. Marv Fritzler, a University of Calgary rheumatologist and member of the University’s McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health and Snyder Institute for Chronic Diseases.

Using the BioFlash, Fritzler and his lab team have the ability to process up to 1,000 blood samples in less than a day−something that could take several days using other biomarker technologies.

The machine is already approved by Health Canada, and is being used to process blood samples of patients from southern Alberta, across Canada and around the world, at the request of the doctor. In addition, it is being used to develop new advanced diagnostic tests for a variety of autoimmune diseases.

The BioFlash was purchased for $100,000, and was made possible through the Music in Motion fundraiser, in support of the McCaig Institute for Bone and Joint Health. This year’s Music In Motion fundraiser will take place in Calgary on September 18th.

Who: Dr. Marv Fritzler

What: one-on-one interviews. View the BioFlash machine

When: Friday Sept 7th, 2012 from 10:30am-12:30pm. Please call to book a phone or in-person interview

Where: University of Calgary, Foothill CampusPlease meet at the info desk, across from Lot 6

Media Contact: Media Relations Manager, Marta Cyperling , 403.210.3835