The time between a patient being admitted to the hospital with an infection and the doctor making an accurate diagnosis needs to be quick so the proper treatment can be prescribed. Sometimes, however, the time between admission and diagnosis can take too long, leading to the infection spreading and causing more damage.
Now, thanks to the work of a group of scientists and engineers from the University of Arizona, Tucson, the potential to make this diagnosis has been quickened due to a newly developed device.
"We’re envisioning a device that will provide physicians with answers as soon as they perform a biopsy, while they’re still sitting with the patient,"explained Tucson Biomedical Engineer Dustin Harshman. "By saving diagnosis time, we can decrease complications for patients, isolate infections to prevent spreading and avoid creating selective pressure for antibiotic-resistant bacteria, which is a huge burden on the medical system."
This new device uses a unique approach to molecular diagnostics that is both quicker and less costly than current options that are used, called DOTS qPCR. This approach simplifies the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) that is currently used to identify infections. The current PCR technique involves heating and cooling DNA molecules rapidly to copy them and identify infectious pathogens in the molecular copies, which can take an hour or more to make a diagnosis. The DOTS qPCR approach is able to measure changes in the surface tension of water droplets containing DNA. The droplet is heated in oil to cause a chain reaction to occur, copying the DNA and making the changes in the surface tension measurable.
"With DOTS qPCR, we are able to detect amplification and identify the infection after as few as four thermal cycles, while other methods are working with between 18 and 30," UAZ professor Jeong-Yeol Yoon explained. "We can get from sample to answer in as little as 3 minutes and 30 seconds."
The University of Arizona is a leading institution for life science research. Receiving more than $283 million in R&D expenditures in the 2013 fiscal year and more than $79 million from the NIH in 2014, researchers at the University of Arizona are some of the most well-funded in the nation. Current funding at the university is being used to support ongoing research, establish new research facilities, and help start-up new research projects. Currently funded research includes:
- The University of Arizona has been awarded $8 million over four years to research how algae can be grown outdoors all year long as a means to produce biofuel.
- UA Researchers received a $6.1 million grant in February, 2015 to advance Arthritis research.
- The University of Arizona has been awarded $3.9 million for an international collaboration led by UA ecologists. The research will focus on how microbes release greenhouse gases as they access nutrients in permafrost soils that are thawing under the influence of a warmer climate.
With so much in active funding supporting a vast array of projects, Tucson researchers have the means and desire to find the best products and tools to use in their labs that will benefit and simplify their work. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. hosts an annual event at the University of Arizona, Tucson that brings lab suppliers and researchers together in one place to find the best and newest tools and technologies available.
The 13th Annual BioResearch Product Faire™ Event in Tucson will be on November 19, 2015. More than 100 active life science researchers are expected to attend this popular event to discover new lab supplies to use in their labs.
To learn more about participating in this premiere life science marketing event, visit the link below:
Researchers in Arizona interested in attending this popular, annual event, are encouraged to visit the following link to learn more and pre-register for the event: