"At age 14, when Vinay Kumar was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes, his doctor told him he would have to take insulin injections. The look of disappointment on his face prompted the physician to lie that it was only for 10 days that injections were needed. Later on, when Kumar realized that he was stuck with the needle for a lifetime, he became determined to put the hurt and discomfort behind and do something about it. Over the years, diabetes took a bigger and bigger toll on his body, with episodes of hypoglycemia (abnormally low level of sugar in the blood) and even fainting—but all this only strengthened his resolve. In addition to struggling with a debilitating condition like millions in the world do, Kumar constantly thought about how a diabetic can manage his condition better and, at the same time, persisted with his studies. “These two aspects of my life merged when I decided to pursue a PhD at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc Bangalore),” he says. Besides working on novel ways to diagnose diseases and acquiring multiple patents, he also co-founded (along with Navakanta Bhat and Gautam Sharma) PathShodh Healthcare Pvt. Ltd, a start-up incubated at IISc that is focused on medical device research and development.
Kumar’s innovation is a hand-held point-of-care device which, as a single unit, can measure eight different parameters related to diabetes management and early detection of its complications. “With a tiny drop of finger-pricked blood samples, patients can test HbA1c (which gives 90 days blood glucose control profile), glycated albumin (which gives 15 days blood glucose control profile) and instant blood glucose as well,” he says. The device can detect very early damage in the kidney by measuring the microalbuminuria, creatinine and ACR (albumin to creatinine ratio) in the urine samples. Apart from these, he adds, it can measure the haemoglobin level for anaemia and chronic kidney disease. “The device can measure serum albumin, an important blood marker for kidney and liver. So the single device can take care of full diabetes glycaemic management and early detection of complications such as diabetic nephropathy,” explains Kumar.
The road ahead for PathShodh is well-defined. “The device is ready and regress clinical validation for most of the tests has been completed on real patient samples in collaboration with major pathology labs and hospitals in Bangalore. We also have the manufacturing line setup at IISc to manufacture the disposable test strips for these different tests,” says Kumar. The commercial launch of the device can happen any time now. That would certainly move the needle in a positive direction for PathShodh’s mission of making healthcare diagnostics affordable and available to all."