Cantimer’s Portable Devices Keep It Simple

waterDehydration plays a role in numerous medical conditions:  urinary tract infections, kidney failure, heat exhaustion, constipation, hypotension, diabetes and more. Dehydration can lead to death if allowed to progress. Poor hydration costs the U.S. healthcare system billions of dollars per year, yet this common condition is surprisingly overlooked by the biotechnology industry. Existing tests for dehydration tend to be unreliable, complex, or expensive. There is no dehydration test on the market that is both low-cost and convenient to use.

Cantimer of Menlo Park, Calif., intends to commercialize handheld devices for measuring human hydration. The company’s key product is a portable hydration monitor that can gauge an individual’s level of hydration from a drop of saliva in approximately one minute. Cantimer plans to target the geriatric and pediatric markets, firefighters, athletes, the chronically ill, and other populations that are particularly susceptible to dehydration. If caught early, dehydration is easily treatable.

The company’s technology platform consists of an iPod-sized device that contains a micro-cantilever and a droplet of a sensitive polymer. When the polymer is exposed to the property for which it was designed, it swells or contracts, causing the micro-cantilever to move. The motion creates a resistance change in the device that can be read with electronics. The system is simple and contains few moving parts. Cantimer’s proprietary technology also has applications to biodefense, environmental testing, and point-of-care diagnostics.

Related video: Robin Stracey, President and CEO of Cantimer, discusses his company with correspondent Alicia Ontiveros at the 2010 OneMedForum.

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