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At CES 2023, Withings unveiled its most unusual piece of health tech to date, the Withings U-Scan.
This is a breakthrough in-home biomarker analysis platform, and it goes inside your toilet.
One of the company’s most technologically advanced devices to date, U-Scan is a miniaturized health lab that hygienically sits within any toilet bowl to unlock the wealth of health information in daily urine. Simultaneously being developed for the consumer health and professional medical markets, its first professional partners are announced as Pr. Marie Courbebaisse (Nephrologist, Physiology department Metabolic and renal exploration units Georges Pompidou European Hospital, Paris), and Institut Curie.
With the potential to offer both consumer health solutions and medical professional applications ranging from research to clinical trials to remote patient monitoring, U-Scan is a game changer in home health technology. It is designed to be a versatile platform consisting of an advanced pebble-shaped reader and changeable analysis cartridges designed to assess specific biomarkers without the need for external sample capture or strips.
It will debut in Europe with two consumer health cartridges, including U-Scan Cycle Sync for women’s monthly cycle tracking and syncing and U-Scan Nutri Balance, a detailed metabolic guide to hydration and nutrition. Withings Health Solutions, the company’s business-to-business division, has launched U Scan For Professionals to bring this technology to the medical and healthcare industries.
Working with medical professionals, disease management programs, pharmaceutical, CROs, and health providers, customizable cartridges for U-Scan For professionals can be developed to assess a myriad of biomarkers contained within urine that are associated with a host of medical and health conditions. Presently solutions can be tailored to analyze a combination of markers such as pH, specific gravity, ketones, vitamin C, albumin, and creatinine but Withings chemistry teams are available to help medical professionals create bespoke cartridges for their use case.
One of its first partnerships includes powering a clinical study to improve the follow-up of patients with cystine renal lithiasis and uric acid renal lithiasis with Professor Marie Courbebaisse, Nephrologist, Physiology department – Metabolic and renal exploration unit – Georges Pompidou European Hospital (APHP, Paris). A future collaboration is underground with Dr. Franck Perez, CNRS Research Director and Head of the Cell Biology and Cancer Unit at Institut Curie, to develop the first non-invasive at-home urine monitoring of bladder and ovarian cancer relapse and screening. It represents an exciting potential use of the technology.
“Being able to monitor specific urine biomarkers regularly and easily at home is a breakthrough innovation that opens exciting fields for nephrology research and patient outcomes. People suffering from lithiasis will be able to better self-monitor their condition and limit the occurrence of relapses,” commented Pr. Courbebaisse.
“We are confident that our proprietary antibody technology allied with the revolutionary U-Scan device could be a game changer for detection and survey of cancer progression,” – Dr. Franck Perez, CNRS Research Director and Head of the Cell Biology and Cancer Unit at Institut Curie.
U-Scan For Professionals – How it Works
While easy to use, U-Scan overcomes multiple technical and chemical challenges. Developed with in-vitro diagnostic experts, it was four years in the making and resulted in 13 patent application families. As a complete system, U-Scan performs three tasks:
- Automated Sample Capture – using a sophisticated reader within a toilet bowl
Just 90 mm in diameter, the rechargeable U-Scan reader is engineered to distinguish between external liquid and urine and automatically funnel samples for analysis. Urine flows efficiently to a collection inlet thanks to its pebble-shaped design. A pump is activated when a thermal sensor detects the presence of urine, which starts a sample’s fluidic journey within a microfluidic circuit.
After its collection, the urine sample is injected into a test pod where the chemical reaction is read by an optical module. At the end of each measurement, the circuit returns to the idle position and the remaining liquid is purged through a waste outlet. The system is subsequently cleaned with every flush.
- Biomarker Analysis – within a miniaturized urine lab tailored to specific use cases
The rotating cylindrical U-Scan cartridge is a tiny chemical assessment chamber containing dozens of miniaturized test pods that can deliver reliable results. When the reader delivers the sample to the injection point U-Scan begins the chemical analysis within moments. It automatically transmits results via Wi-Fi and then rotates the cartridge to expose the next test pod to the injection point.
The module system is purposely designed to allow for bespoke cartridges to be developed as required by use cases.
- Actionable Data – unlocking new health data streams
The data collected with U-Scan For Professionals can be analyzed and delivered to audiences in a variety of ways depending on the use case.
As the latest device within the Withings ecosystem, U-Scan For Professionals is compatible with WithingsRPM, the highly advanced Remote Patient Monitoring solution that places the patient experience at the heart of the telehealth experience. The ability to carry out daily urine analysis greatly increases the health data Withings can offer partners, making it one of the most comprehensive platforms on the market.
Leveraging its API, Withings partners can bring patients’ data to their own environment and offer results or actional advice in their own voice and brand.
“The ability of U-Scan to perform daily urine analysis from home provides a powerful health data stream that can be used by health professionals in multiple functions.” said Mathieu Letombe, Withings CEO. “The data U-Scan unlocks can be used in medical research or in clinical trials helping to bring new treatments to market as well as a multiple of remote patient monitoring scenes. We have purposely built this modular technology to be able to be customized for a myriad of biomarkers and look forward to working with professional partners in the health industry to realize its exciting potential.”
Commenting on the launch of U-Scan and its potential in his field, Pr. Bernard Canaud, Emeritus Professor of Medicine at Montpellier University, School said, “The ability to automatically analyze the physical and chemical composition of urine in real-time is a tool missing for today’s clinicians and health providers. This unmet need is being realized by U-Scan, which is a major technological breakthrough that I predict will facilitate the improved treatment and monitoring of chronic kidney disease patients. In addition, this disruptive technology has the potential of improving kidney and cardiac disease outcomes by empowering patients with daily information.”
For more information, please visit www.withings.com