Client NanoLogix was recently featured on the cover of the leading medical technology journal, Medical Design in their October 2011 issue. The article, by CEO Bret Barnhizer features an overview of this cutting edge diagnostic technology that is proving to be 400% faster than traditional bacterial diagnostics.
Nanodiagnostics: Revolutionizing viable microorganism detection
Medical Design, Oct 1, 2011 12:00 PM
Bret Barnhizer, CEO, NanoLogix
Single-use and rapid diagnostic products continue to become more easily accessible thanks in part to continued advances in new materials and technology. A nanomembrane-based technology could change the future of testing for deadly microorganisms.
The next generation of Petri culture technology is providing the opportunity to revolutionize the world of medical device diagnostics. By sandwiching a permeable, polymeric nanopore membrane in between two layers of agar, deadly microorganisms such as E.coli, Salmonella, Anthrax, Group B-Strep, and others can be successfully detected in a few hours. By contrast, it takes many hours or days to detect such organisms by conventional Petri and DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The technology enables viable microorganism detection, identification, and antibiotic sensitivity results at speeds up to 4–12× faster. By eliminating the need to wait longer for results, this technology slows the growth of antibiotic resistance by giving physicians the information they need faster, which allows them to make specific treatment decisions quickly.
Traditionally, labs have had to wait between 24 and 72 hours for culture-based proof of bacteria growth. Meanwhile, PCR testing methods have not lived up to their promises regarding speeds and diagnoses. While seeming to take less time on paper, many require an enrichment process of the sample at least overnight before the sequencing can be conducted. Other challenges include increased expenses, specialized training and equipment, and the fact that PCR does not distinguish between live and dead microbes. Because only living microbes are a true health threat, this determination is critical for a viable diagnosis. In addition, PCR is unable to provide information on antibiotic sensitivity or antibiotic resistance of the microbe detected in the sample.
Therefore, Petri culturing still remains the gold standard for viable detection and identification of microorganisms. This lengthy process can force healthcare practitioners to wait for conclusive results before beginning treatment, costing valuable time and potentially adverse health effects. On the other hand, these wait times can force physicians to treat empirically. This either exposes patients and microorganisms to broad-spectrum antibiotics unnecessarily (when other more targeted antibiotics would be more effective) or exposes healthy patients to antibiotics they may not need at all. Either way, this unnecessary exposure can lead to a development of antibiotic resistance in bacterial strains, making them more difficult and costly to treat in the future. The Center for Science in the Public Interest estimates the bottom line of these practices is an annual cost of $30 billon to treat antibiotic resistance. Furthermore, waiting for results in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, food, and beverage industries can increase public health risks by delaying the identification of contaminated or spoiled products as inflate supply line and shipping costs.