Development of an early detector of diabetes in the cat’s urine - QC-191

Preferred Disciplines: Physiology, veterinary medecine, animal science, medecine, biochemistry, biology (Master or Post-Doc)
Project length: 8-18 months (2-3 units)
Approx. start date: September 2019
Location: Boucherville, QC
No. of Positions: 1
Preferences: In collaboration with the University of Montreal, Faculty of veterinary medecine
Company: Intersand Inc

About Company:

Group Intersand is a leading privately owned Canadian manufacturer of cat litter and animal health monitoring devices. For over 25 years, Intersand has developed superior products helping cats enjoy a long and happy life and is now a top tier worldwide manufacturer, with two production plants and sales in over 40 countries. The company is in constant innovation research in order to stand out from its competitors. Some examples are their work on long-standing perfumes, their decreased litter dust, the development of products that neutralize odors. Furthermore, Intersand is about to commercialize a litter containing indicators of feline health status. After the realization of a screening product for feline urinary disease and following the advice of veterinarians, Intersand wishes to develop a screening test to detect glucose in the urine of diabetic cats. This product will be incorporated in an adequate support product so that it may be dispersed on top of the litter. This product will help the owner recognize early symptoms and will be alert the owner to the health danger of their animal so that they may rapidly seek a remedy through nutrition and/or treatment that will help eliminate the problem.

Summary of Project:

The industrial partner is searching to develop à product marker for the early detection of diabetes in the urine of cats. This research program has the principal objective of evaluating the reliability of a chromogenic screening test for diabetes which would be easily usable at the veterinary hospital or in the home. The sensitivity and the specificity of the developed product by the industrial partner will permit the distinction between sick and healthy cats as well as the monitoring of sick cats. These results will contribute to the continued research, development and eventual commercialization of an innovative product and will permit the intern to develop and exercise a leadership in research and development in the industrial environment, as well as learning a solid foundation of the scientific method.

Research Objectives/Sub-Objectives:

The objective of the research program is to generate the data necessary to evaluate the reliability of the screening test in a variety of conditions including in vitro interference testing, a clinical utilization in veterinary hospitals and at home and on diseased and healthy animals and to evaluate:

  1. The positive and negative predictive values of the screening test in hospitalized cats and under different conditions and treatments;
  2. The ease of use of the screening product in veterinary clinical conditions and during monitoring of the condition at home.


    • The goal of the internship is to expose the student to the industrial partner’s needs in research and development and to the challenges encountered during the development of a product to test, to the modifications brought to the product test by the partner and to the obstacles that remain to be overcome in order for the test product to perform optimally and reliably during its real utilization. In parallel, the student will recruit veterinary hospitals in which the clinical trial will occur. Furthermore, the performance of the test product will be evaluated in in vitro conditions prior to the clinical study. A colorimetric chart will be developed by the student to facilitate the interpretation of the screening product reactions when used in urine.
    • The student will receive an initiation to clinical research and will be responsible for the management of the project. Firstly, the participating clinics will receive a training for standardizing the urinalysis. Secondly, the follow-up of the individual participants or veterinary clinics will be performed to collect the data of the results of the screening product as well as any pertinent medical information. The student will also receive training on the pertinent scientific method that includes a course on applied statistics, research seminars and bibliographic research on feline diabetes and diagnostics and follow up tools for this feline disease. 

    Expertise and Skills Needed:

    Communication, data collection and organization, attention to detail, statistics, writing of a scientific article, oral presentations of research results.

    For more info or to apply to this applied research position, please

    1. Check your eligibility and find more information about open projects.
    2. Interested students need to get the approval from their supervisor and send their CV along with a link to their supervisor’s university webpage by applying through the webform or directly to Nadia Dubé

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