Jun 162013
 

Pathogen Detector

An electronic chip that can analyze blood and other clinical samples for infectious bacteria with record-breaking speed

A U of T team – including researchers from Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering – has created an electronic chip that can analyze blood and other clinical samples for infectious bacteria with record-breaking speed.

Life-threatening bacterial infections cause tens of thousands of deaths every year in North America but current methods of culturing bacteria in the lab can take days to report the specific source of the infection, and even longer to pinpoint the right antibiotic that will clear the infection.

The new technology, reported in the journal Nature Communications , can identify the pathogen in a matter of minutes, and looks for many different bacteria and drug resistance markers in parallel, allowing rapid and specific identification of infectious agents.

Overuse of antibiotics is driving the continued emergence of drug-resistant bacteria,” said Shana Kelley (Pharmacy and Biochemistry), a senior author of the study. “A chief reason for use of ineffective or inappropriate antibiotics is the lack of a technology that rapidly offers physicians detailed information about the specific cause of the infection.”

The researchers developed an integrated circuit that could detect bacteria at concentrations found in patients presenting with a urinary tract infection. “The chip reported accurately on the type of bacteria in a sample, along with whether the pathogen possessed drug resistance,” explained Chemistry PhD student Brian Lam, the first author of the study.

A U of T team – including researchers from Electrical and Computer Engineering and the Institute of Biomaterials & Biomedical Engineering – has created an electronic chip that can analyze blood and other clinical samples for infectious bacteria with record-breaking speed.

Life-threatening bacterial infections cause tens of thousands of deaths every year in North America but current methods of culturing bacteria in the lab can take days to report the specific source of the infection, and even longer to pinpoint the right antibiotic that will clear the infection.

The new technology, reported in the journal Nature Communications , can identify the pathogen in a matter of minutes, and looks for many different bacteria and drug resistance markers in parallel, allowing rapid and specific identification of infectious agents.

“Overuse of antibiotics is driving the continued emergence of drug-resistant bacteria,” said Shana Kelley (Pharmacy and Biochemistry), a senior author of the study. “A chief reason for use of ineffective or inappropriate antibiotics is the lack of a technology that rapidly offers physicians detailed information about the specific cause of the infection.”

The researchers developed an integrated circuit that could detect bacteria at concentrations found in patients presenting with a urinary tract infection. “The chip reported accurately on the type of bacteria in a sample, along with whether the pathogen possessed drug resistance,” explained Chemistry PhD student Brian Lam, the first author of the study.

Read more . . .

via University of Toronto Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering
 

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