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Tuesday, 11 December 2012
Pressure BioSciences' platform could help end "national travesty" as bill to end rape kit backlog introduced in Congress
Pressure BioSciences' (OTCQB:PBIO) CEO Richard Schumacher says that the company may be a part of a bill introduced earlier this month to allow local law enforcement in the U.S. to apply for the funds they say are needed to test every rape kit.
According to recent research, there’s an estimated backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S. -- bags of evidence collecting dust and allowing several potential serial rapists to remain unidentified as a result.
The problem has been attributed to the lack of resources, from funding to staff. The process of extracting and separating two sets of DNA (the rape victim and the rapist) from one swab sample is also rather time-consuming and laborious.
But Dr. Bruce McCord, associate director of the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University (FIU), is applying new technology from Pressure BioSciences to improve the quality and speed of processing rape kits.
The new procedure is based on the company's patented pressure cycling technology (PCT), which uses rapid and repeating cycles of hydrostatic pressure at controlled temperatures to extract cell components in the preparation of a biological sample - such as DNA, RNA, and proteins from humans, animals and plants - for further study.
Earlier this year, FIU was even awarded a near $350,000 grant to improve rape case DNA testing using Pressure BioSciences' PCT platform. The FIU was awarded the grant from the Office of Justice Programs of the Department of Justice (DOJ).
The goal of the grant is to develop a faster and more accurate method of processing DNA evidence for rape prosecutions. The PCT technology permits the user to selectively burst open and extract DNA from the perpetrator’s sperm cells, while leaving the victim’s own cells in the swab sample unbroken.
Currently in the forensics field, methods used to separate a woman's DNA from a man’s DNA is done manually, often yielding unsatisfactory results in cases like rape.
"Our goal is to develop a PCT-based method that can selectively disrupt sperm cells in mixtures containing female cells, without the need to first separate the cells," McCord has previously explained.
The company's platform has the potential to help resolve an important issue, and possibly reduce the large backlog of untested rape kits in the U.S.
The issue is indeed pressing as is evident by the recent news that Congress is working together on a bill to try and help "end this national travesty", Schumacher tells Proactive Investors.
“Democrats and Republicans identified a serious problem and they have come together to have a common sense solution,” said Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., one of four legislators — two from each part — who co-sponsored the bill and spoke about it after its introduction earlier this month.
Schumacher adds: "When the bill passes and money becomes available, we may be part of the solution. This is exciting – if we can get our improved rape kit process completed and to market by the end of 2013 as planned, this will benefit so many, and help undo a terrible wrong."
The bill, Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence Registry (SAFER) Act, is an attempt to ensure that rape kits will not be backlogged. It will allow local law enforcement to apply for the funds they say are needed to test every rape kit.
The applications of Pressure BioSciences' PCT-based products extend beyond forensics. They can also be used for the key $2 billion target market of mass spectrometry, an analytical technique used to determine the characteristics of molecules, to biomarker discovery, and counter-bioterrorism, among other uses.
In November, the company posted a 40 per cent increase in revenues for its third quarter, reporting record sales of its PCT products.