A $100,000 award from the Venture Acceleration Fund in 2011 helped Santa Fe startup Vista Therapeutics speed up the commercial introduction of the NanoBioSensor, which employs nanowires to measure in real time the multiple blood proteins and other biomarkers the body produces in response to trauma or disease. Biomarker measurement is especially critical for emergency room doctors, who have little time to gauge the severity of a patient’s condition and choose a proper intervention. Benefits continue during recovery, when ongoing monitoring is essential.
As the first commercially available device capable of such on-the-spot analysis, the NanoBioSensor is expected to improve the lives of people and also reduce the suffering of research animals: Pharmaceutical scientists and other biomedical researchers often must sacrifice many animals to obtain sufficient blood or tissue samples for analysis of biomarker changes over time. The sensitivity and rapidity of Vista’s sensor will allow many biomarkers to be monitored with a simple nick of the research animal’s tail or ear.