Frequently Asked Questions

Looking for answers? Take a look at our list of frequently asked questions. If you do not find the answer to your question below, please contact us!
TWD stands for Technology Watch Database. It is an interactive listing of companies, universities and individuals involved in creating diagnostic platforms and assays which can be used at or near the site of a patient’s side commonly referred to as point-of-care (POC). This database includes platforms which can detect the presence of a pathogen through detection of nucleic acid or proteins or lipids unique to a pathogen. It also includes devices or kits described as “enabling technologies”. The database is interactive in that it can be searched based on a number of characteristics or a unique name.
Enabling technologies are kits, reagents or devices which do not elicit a signal for detection of a pathogen but are used to enhance a detection signal or isolate the target from background. Both sample preparation technology and sample concentration technologies are included under the category of “enabling”. If a detection technology includes automated sample preparation or concentration technologies, both the detection and enabling check boxes will be selected.
Originally this database was created to support the members of the Johns Hopkins University Center for POCT for STD in following a large number of devices being developed in the US and Europe for rapid diagnosis of sexually transmitted infections (STI). The database was intended to make it easier to monitor the progress to commercialization of all types of devices targeting sexually transmitted infections (STI) and devices which target other infectious diseases but could be modified to detect STI. The database was modeled after a similar database of biological, radiological and chemical detectors created by Dr. Peter Emanuel at Edgewood Biological and Chemical Command at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland. During its development, the Center staff realized that the database could have broader applicability to the community of clinicians, researchers, engineers, technology developers and sponsors who were interested in POCT diagnostics for infectious diseases (ID). Developers can search the database to find potential collaborators and to access the field for potential competing technologies. End users can find devices at various stages of development and assess the level of maturity of each technology. Supplied with the contact information, end users have the ability to reach out to attractive POCT to gather more information, provide support or request updates. Sponsors, researchers and others involved in commercialization of POCT can search the database for POCT with similar characteristics and follow the maturity of families of technologies as they progress. The motivation for the TWD is to provide a one stop shop for comparing and contrasting POCT as it relates to infectious disease diagnostics.
The characteristics fields were defined by multiple methods. As mentioned above, the database on which the TWD was modeled used several of these characteristics as important delineators of detection technology. Second, the Center staff conducted focus groups on current or potential end users of POCT (publications of focus group results can be found on the JH Center for POCT for STD website: www.hopkinsmedicine.org/medicine/std ) Feedback from these groups provided a lists of common characteristics.
TWD can be used by technology developers who wish to get an overview of the types of technology platforms applied to POCT. Developers may identify potential collaborators, look for potentially competing technologies or identify gaps in current methods or devices for which new approaches are needed. End users looking for mature technologies or planning for future acquisitions can survey the available technologies and determine which characteristics provide the best fit for their needs. Finally researchers and others interested in providing intellectual, entrepreneurial or financial support to POCT can rapidly sort through a large number of POCT for infectious diseases and compare and contrast them based on more than 15 different characteristics. While we have done our best to be as comprehensive as possible, new devices are being developed at a regular pace. In an effort to capture this information we update the database annually and ask developers already in the database to provide updates and developers of new POCT to provide their information so that we can add more POCT entries. Registration is required to perform these functions.
The area where POCT would most benefit the outcomes of patients is the field of infectious diseases. Rapid precise identification of the infectious agent and potentially its therapeutic sensitivity can be critical to improved outcomes. Within this area, there is a subset of pathogenic organisms which would provide additional improvements to the treatment of human diseases because of unique characteristics associated with these infections. Sexually transmitted infections (STI) can be particularly hard to diagnosis and treat because many of the infections are asymptomatic and the social stigma associated with STI prevent patients from returning to a medical facility for their results or treatment. The ability to diagnose and treat patients in a single visit would eliminate these hurdles to successful eradication of STI. The expertise within our Center is made up of laboratorians and clinicians whose background is centered on infectious disease. Further more, woman’s health and public health issues have allowed key personnel to specialize in the identification and treatment of STI. Publications relating to POCT, STI, and woman’s health authored by Center members can be found on the Center’s webpages (www.hopkinsmedicine.org/medicine/std)
The database is open to the public with registration, and free to use. The database is only available online. Registration instructions are written below in the question “How can I gain access to the database?”
To access the database, please send your full name and your email address in LOWER CASE letters to the TWD manager, Joany Jackman at Joany.Jackman@jhuapl.edu with the following subject line: TWD ACCESS REQUEST. You will receive an email notification and password following this request. It is important to remember to use LOWER CASE letters in your email address when you enter this identification into log in page for the TWD. Failure to log in to the TWD within 7 days will result in loss of access. Passwords are not stored by JHU Center for POCT for STD. Passwords must be initially reset by the registered user at the login page. Additionally, users who have not accessed the TWD annually will be removed from the access list. Access must be requested by following the instructions above.
All of the information made available in the database is derived from open sources. These include but are not limited to webpages, printed literature, publications and presentations from public meetings. The information listed was provided to each company, organization or individual listed as the contact or incorporated owner prior to being made available for public viewing in order for them to confirm the information as listed. Contacts are requested to provide changes, corrections or request information be withdrawn within 7 days before the information is made publicly available. In the case where some devices were no longer under development the information listed is not updated since its last entry and the technology is listed as RETIRED. This information is retained in the database so that technology developers looking for specific design features may contact owners of RETIRED devices regarding potential collaboration. The database includes devices which were under development but may no longer be actively under development. The JHU Center for POCT for STD has made every effort to correctly enter information as provided by its developers. Occasionally typos or other errors may occur. We kindly request that notification of any errors identified after the information is made available to the public will be corrected within 5 business days or less along with a notification of the error in the description box.
TWD was created by members of the Johns Hopkins University Center for POCT for STD. Funding for this effort was provided by the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering and was funded under NIH U54EB007958.
Once you are registered to use the database, you can view the PowerPoint Presentation entitled: “How to search the Technology Watch Database” located on page seen immediately after logging in. This presentation provides guidance to features of the TWD and provides screen by screen information on some sample searches. Any comments or queries about specific search requests or difficulty searching the database, can be addressed to the TWD coordinator via the link listed on the Home Page.