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T-Meter: Sensitive, low-cost testerone testing at the point of care

MU Health Care explains how researchers at the University of Missouri are working to make the process of testosterone testing faster – and cheaper. (MU Health Care)

Researchers at the University of Missouri are teaming up to develop a portable device that would allow testosterone testing to be done at the point of care or from the comfort of home.

Right now, testosterone testing requires bloodwork and a specialized lab. The process can be lengthy and expensive, and because of this, some individuals undergoing hormone therapy may only monitor their blood hormone levels one to two times a year, rather than the four to eight times a year necessary for optimal hormone therapy.

A team of researchers with backgrounds in medicine and engineering is developing a better way to measure those hormone levels, however, through a device called the T-Meter.

“At the end of the day, your measurement is going to be more reliable and more stable, and we believe a lot more accurate,” said researcher Maria Fidalgo, PhD.

The portable, low-cost device would accurately measure testosterone levels in a single drop of blood, similar to a glucose strip test system. The finished product will include test strips that absorb the hormone and change color, and the shift in color is read with a unit that plugs into your cell phone.

Team members include:

  • Maria Fidalgo, PhD, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
  • Luis Polo-Parada, PhD, Department of Medical Pharmacology and Physiology
  • Liliana Garcia-Vargas, MD, Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

The T-Meter team was recently awarded a grant through MU’s Coulter Translational Partnership Program. The grant is meant to help promising medical discoveries make the transition from laboratory research to commercial investment and direct patient care.

As bringing engineers and clinicians together to develop solutions to unmet medical needs is a key premise of the Coulter Program, all MU Coulter projects include faculty members from the MU College of Engineering and the MU School of Medicine.

To learn more about the MU Coulter Program, click here.

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