Oasis Diagnostics Obtains Grant from NIH for Rapid Saliva-Based Test for Stress

Oasis Diagnostics has received a grant from NIH to develop a point of care test that will determine from saliva specimens how stressed an individual is, in 15 minutes or less. Oasis Diagnostics will collaborate with the University of New Orleans and Restore Biodiagnostics [Madison, WI] on this project.

Oasis Diagnostics Corporation, a leader in the development of saliva-based collection and test systems for specimens in the laboratory and at the point-of-care, has received a federal grant to complete development of a rapid, semi-quantitative stress test through the measurement of the hormone cortisol.

Funding for the project is provided by the National Institutes of Health’s National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM.)

Under terms of the grant, Oasis will receive $325,000 to complete development of the test, which will be carried out in collaboration with the University of New Orleans and Restore Biodiagnostics in Madison, WI.
The test development is based on the patented Oasis VerOFy® point-of-care platform technology that incorporates rapid and standardized saliva collection with high quality immunochromatographic test strips, providing a system for delivery of immediate results in the field or point-of-care locations.

Phase one of the Oasis Project will demonstrate validation of the VerOFy® technology against standard control solutions for measurement of cortisol. Phase two will demonstrate the effectiveness of this new method for cortisol measurement in situations where laboratory equipment is unavailable or inconvenient. The test also aims to demonstrate improvements to research protocols for stress and lowered costs associated with stress research in human clinical trials.

The VerOFy® technology was originally developed for roadside drugs of abuse testing, but may be applied to a multitude of diseases, disease states or biomarkers for use in any setting where immediate results are required. The ease of use and simplicity of the test procedure makes the technology suitable for use in remote areas where laboratory facilities are not available, including the developing world.

Oasis CEO Paul D. Slowey, aka “Dr Spit,” notes that early detection of elevated cortisol levels can lead to improved intervention for stress and impact related issues such as compensation claims, medical expenses and reduced productivity. Reliable cortisol measurement via saliva can also be used to design and execute studies that would be difficult with other methods, or other more invasive specimen types such as blood draws.
“Over the last decade, the use of salivary cortisol as a biomarker for stress and related diseases has become increasingly common,” says Slowey. “ It has been found that salivary cortisol measurement is convenient and non-invasive and for these reasons salivary cortisol measurement has been used as a tool for the detection of stress biomarkers in many groups including astronauts, pilots, sky-divers and actors, among others.
“Many stress related statistics highlight the growing importance of recognizing stress as a major contributor to global disease and the need to develop new tools that address the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of stress related disorders,” Slowey adds. “The reported statistics and trends show that there is a clear (stress related) health and economic crisis that requires new, innovative management tools, strategies and cost effective therapies.”
According to a report on WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/depression/features/stress-depression)
“sustained or chronic stress leads to elevated hormones such as cortisol and reduced serotonin and other neurotransmitters in the brain, including dopamine, which has been linked to depression. When these chemical systems are working normally, they regulate biological processes like sleep, appetite, energy, and sex drive and permit expression of normal moods and emotions. When the stress response fails to shut off and reset after a difficult situation has passed, it can lead to depression in susceptible people.”
Depression is the No. 1 occupational disease of the 21st century, according to the World Health Organization, which is brought on by constant, stressful environmental circumstances.
Statistics show that depression and stress among youth has increased from two percent to 12 percent in the last five years. Globally, three out of every five visits to physicians are for stress related problems. In addition, 76 percent of people under stress say they have sleeping disorders; another 58 percent confirm chronic headaches. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of lost workdays around the world are due to stress, according to an International Labor Organization study.

“Once we have validated salivary cortisol detection in the VerOFy® platform, our longer term goals include development of an integrated method for measuring multiple biomarkers simultaneously in a test subject in near real time and non-invasively using saliva rather then blood,” Slowey says.

Oasis Diagnostics® has developed a series of tools based on saliva for the standardized collection of oral fluids and testing of specimens both in the laboratory and at the point-of-care. Currently the company offers the Versi•SAL® Saliva Collection Device for standardized saliva collection, VerOFy®, a rapid point-of-care testing platform device and DNA•SAL™, a novel collection tool for the harvesting of DNA from saliva for applications such as PCR, genotyping and genome-wide association studies, among others. Devices for RNA, proteins and drugs of abuse are currently in development.

In addition, Oasis Diagnostics® is the exclusive representative for genomic products from ViennaLab Diagnostics (Vienna, Austria), in North America and for Operon S.A. (Zaragoza, Spain) in the United States.

Oasis holds an exclusive license in certain territories in the Americas and Asia to Maxisal, a proprietary supplement for the treatment of dry mouth syndrome.

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