A press release from UCLA is reporting that in a partnership between the university, GenFluidics, a Monterey Park, CA based company, and the VA of the Greater Los Angeles Area, researchers used a new biosensor to correctly identify infection causing bacteria species in 98 percent of samples. A big advantage of the new method: it takes 45 minutes to get results, rather than two days.
Individual sensors on GeneFluidics’ 16-sensor chips were coated with UCLA-designed species-specific genetic probes. Clinical urine samples were directly applied to the chips and the electrochemical signal subsequently measured by GeneFluidics’ multi-channel reader instrument. The urinary tract infection pathogens were identified by examining which signals on the sensor chip were elevated. The entire experiment from sample collection to result read-out took only 45 minutes.
The potential for rapid bacterial detection was discovered in the laboratory of Dr. Edward McCabe, chair of pediatrics at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and an adviser to GeneFluidics. McCabe’s group demonstrated that probes could bind to species-specific bacterial sequences within minutes, rather than hours. These exciting results were translated to the biosensor protocol, leading to the development of the biosensor for rapid identification of bacteria in urine from patients with urinary tract infections.
“Results were impressive for this initial 78-sample clinical study,” said Dr. Bernard Churchill, chief of pediatric urology at the Clark-Morrison Children’s Urological Center at UCLA and principal investigator. “By coupling UCLA’s robust probes with GeneFluidics’ ultra sensitive biosensor system, we were able to identify urinary tract infection pathogens in a time frame that would enable physicians to make dramatically superior clinical decisions.”
Ongoing work at UCLA and the VA Medical Center is focused on developing even better detection methods to bring the urinary tract infection biosensor chip from “bench to bedside.” At GeneFluidics, engineers are integrating the biosensors into microfluidic cartridges and building a new instrument for faster and completely automated experimentation. The team anticipates the rapid test could become available in the next two to three years.