A team of scientists from the University of Liverpool has won a Medical Futures Award for a fluorescence-based device they say can identify early caries and biofilm before it is visible to the human eye.
The innovation, dubbed iDENTifi (not to be confused with the DentalEZ Identafi oral cancer screening device), comprises a clinical digital camera that incorporates qualitative light-induced fluorescence (QLF) technology to take images of the mouth using blue light and special filters that reveal caries and biofilm. The images can then be transferred using wireless technology to a computer, laptop, iPad, or smartphone for immediate assessment and evaluation by a dental care professional.
iDENTifi was developed by a group of researchers from the university in collaboration with Inspektor Research Systems. The original concept for the device began more than a decade ago when the Liverpool team began working to incorporate QLF technology into clinical single-lens reflex cameras.
"Winning this award will give us access to business expertise and networks which will help iDENTifi secure the recognition and investment needed to become a viable dental healthcare product," said Sue Higham, PhD, a professor oral biology in the department of health services research at the University of Liverpool School of Dentistry.
iDENTifi will continue to be used in clinical trials, with commercial launch anticipated in summer 2012, the researchers noted.