Microorganism diagnostics are difficult to speed up even though fast results can be tremendously useful for clinical decision making. If you’re testing a patient for say, MRSA colonization, traditionally you’d either have to smear a sample on a Petri dish (or equivalent) and wait for it to grow to detectible levels, or grind the sample up and run a PCR on the extracted DNA. Both of these can be slow processes. Innovation in rapid PCR has sped things up considerably but still leaves two problems: the first is that unless you use special work-arounds, you’re not able to distinguish between living and dead microorganisms, and the second is that it’s expensive.
NanoLogix, a company out of Ohio, is trying to solve both of these by commercializing their cost-effective Petri dish membrane that supercharges a traditional culture to allow earlier detection of viable microorganisms. In summary, they’ve got a thin film that traps the microorganisms but doesn’t hinder their growth. By helping them grow in a thin plane, and by helping staining agents propagate through the sample more efficiently, the company enables pathologists and clinicians to see growth faster. They claim 6 hour MRSA detection, 6 hour Group B Strep, 4 hour E. Coli, and 6 hour Anthrax.
NanoLogix is currently sold only for research purposes but they’ve got some 510k applications open on a series of tests and are hoping for quick FDA clearance.
From a recent press release highlighting NanoLogix’s Group B Strep results:
The American Journal of Perinatology has published a peer-reviewed paper from the University of Texas Health Science Center – Houston confirming NanoLogix BioNanoPore (BNP) and BioNanoFilter (BNF) Quick Test technology detect and identify Group B Strep in four to six hours. The published results are in stark contrast to current Petri culturing or PCR Protocol (DNA sequencing) methods. While those conventional methods require between 48 to 72 hours of incubation to obtain results, the NanoLogix diagnostic technology for Group B Strep has proven to be 12 to 18 times faster.
Both Nanologix BNP and BNF Quick Test kits were validated in the study for Group B Strep detection and identification. They are easy to use and require little training and minimal equipment (other than an incubator). This allows the tests to be administered in remote areas with limited resources and personnel. Additionally, the tests can be performed on a single specimen – which is not cost effective for PCR-related methods.
Press release: Results of Group B Streptococcus…
Product page: NanoLogix