02/06/2013 01:23 EST | Updated 04/08/2013 05:12 EDT

Edmonton's Metabolistics Granted $500,000 HIV Research Funding From Gates Foundation


EDMONTON -- An Edmonton company has been given half a million dollars in funding from the National Research Council and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in its search for a new way to test for HIV.

Steve Slupsky and his sister Carolyn Slupsky are the founders of Metabolistics.

The company has made a name for itself by testing for diseases such as cancer, hepatitis and tuberculosis by using urine samples.

At a news conference Tuesday, Carolyn Slupsky said both the NRC and the foundation run by Gates, co-founder of Microsoft, think reducing the number of new HIV infections is key to fighting the global epidemic.

Despite ongoing preventions, thousands of new infections occur every year.

Slupsky said she and her brother hope their new test can detect a positive diagnosis early enough to not only prevent transmission but for the patient to have early access to anti-retroviral therapy.

"The urine actually is composed of all the molecules of our metabolism,'' she explained.

"When we get sick ... it causes unique changes in the chemicals that are present in the urine. Then what we can do is look at the pattern of the chemical, and from that pattern we can determine what sort of disease a person may or may not have.

"With other testing methods you can only tell whether it's a yes or no answer, but with ours we can tell you how recent the infection is.''

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