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Last Updated: Monday, 17 November, 2003, 17:21 GMT
Robot speeds up DNA testing
The Bee AutoCam 48
Matching bone marrow donors to patients will be speeded up

A small company has invented a robotic DNA tissue testing device which can speed up the process of matching donors for bone marrow transplant patients.

The Bee AutoCam 48 has been developed by Bee Robotics in Caernarfon to automate a DNA process previously carried out by hand.

By doing so the robot's camera scanner reading of DNA test strips eliminates human error.

The company, which employs four full-time and one part-time staff, was founded in 1999 and already supplies their robotic instruments to The Anthony Nolan Trust, the United Kingdom's largest stem cell register.

The trust manages the register of potential blood stem cell donors for people suffering from leukaemia.

Bee Robotics Managing Director Steve Jones said: "I would say it is an innovative instrument rather than revolutionary but it will help laboratories which process a lot of samples to speed up their operation.

"Potentially anyone who develops strips technology will be interested in this development.

"It will reduce the possibility of errors down to human handling.

"I don't know if it will make me a millionaire but you never know," he said.

The company already exports products to Germany, Italy and the USA and will be displaying the Bee AutoCam 48 at a medical exhibition in Düsseldorf this week.

They plan to start manufacturing the device next spring.

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