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MSSI spinout Crescent Diagnostics launch fingernail test for bone fragility

MSSI spinout Crescent Diagnostics launch fingernail test for bone fragility

MSSI spinout, Crescent Diagnostics, has launched “Osentia” the fingernail test for bone fragility, over the counter, in the UK.  Available through both the company website ( and Superdrug ( The intention is that it will launch worldwide next year.

The development of Osentia is based upon the pioneering research of former MSSI member Professor Mark Towler, now at Ryerson University, Toronto who set out to investigate why osteoporosis patients noticed an improvement in their nails when they started treatment for their condition.

While at the University of Limerick Professor Towler used laser-based Raman Spectroscopy technology to examine nail clippings from osteoporosis patients, comparing them to nail clippings from healthy individuals. He observed that levels of disulphide bond, needed to bind molecules of the strengthening protein keratin, were lower in the nail.clippings from people with osteoporosis. Through bone scans, his research team subsequently found a link between levels of disulphide bonds in the nail and the risk of an individual developing a fragility fracture.

Osteoporosis represents a significant challenge around the world affecting one in three women and one in five men over fifty.

Crescent have appointed Doctor Dawn Harper from Channel 4’s “Embarrassing Bodies” to assist with the launch.  Click here to see Doctor Dawn Harper describe Osentia on London Live TV :

Mark Towler is Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Ryerson University, Toronto. Previously he was Visiting Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Malaya, and prior to that, Inamori Chair of Biomaterials at Alfred University, NY state and Adjunct Professor at the University of Limerick. He has been conducting research on biomaterials for twenty years both in industry and academia. He has a PhD from Queen Mary College, University of London, is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining and is both a chartered engineer and chartered scientist.