ArgentoJanuary 6 - It sounds like something out of science fiction, but the UK's top athletes will soon be using nanotechnology as they seek that tiny fraction of advantage which can be the difference between glory and failure at London 2012.

A new hand-held medical device which measures biomarkers - proteins which reveal details about the condition of a body - is to be trialled by UK Sport to improve training regimes.

The equipment, by Argento Diagnostics, gives an almost instant read-out helping athletes to identify injuries or medical conditions on the spot and therefore avoid the risk of long-term damage.

UK Sport is the first organisation to be offered the cutting edge technology.

The device uses nanotechnology to provide a quick, full diagnosis from a single small sample such as blood, urine or saliva.

The collaboration with UK Sport, which is also co-funded by the English Institute of Sport (EIS) and the Scottish Institute of Sport (SIS), will give the UK's leading athletes access to Argento technology.

Dr Scott Drawer, head of research and innovation at UK Sport, said: "The availability of this real-time monitoring will enable training to be customised not only to the individual but also to their current condition, marking a huge step forward in preparing our athletes for future success."

Dr Ken van Someren, director of sport science at EIS, said: "EIS practitioners work on the frontline delivering expertise on a daily basis in training and competition.

"Every aspect of training and preparation plays an important role in maximising performance when it matters most.

"This technology helps the depth in understanding our practitioners offer but also the speed at which we are able to feed back to athletes and coaches in order to give meaningful insights during preparation."

Mike Whittingham, director of high performance at SIS, said: "We see this as an exceptional opportunity to help shape and influence current and future thinking around training and competition loads with the ultimate aim of improving the performances of all our athletes in the lead into London 2012 and Glasgow 2014."

Keith Page, chief executive officer of Argento Diagnostics, said: "This technology was developed to provide quick and simple diagnosis of a broad range of conditions.

"The deal with UK Sport will allow a dramatically increased understanding of how the human body works when being pushed to its limit and we can use that information to continue to improve physical performance.

"This is a great example of the UK's world-leading science expertise supporting our world-leading sportsmen and women."

The agreement marks the first commercial use for Argento's technology.

The device also has the potential to save lives by providing rapid diagnosis of a wide range of medical conditions - from cardiac damage to swine flu - allowing faster delivery of treatment.