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New Biosensor Provides Rapid UTI Relief, Cuts Diagnosis Time from Two Days to 45 Minutes

For the millions of people who suffer from urinary-tract infections, a new biosensor technology may replace antiquated testing methods and provide rapid relief. The new test provides results in 45 minutes, compared to two days with current methods. The February 2006 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology reported the findings.

UCLA and Veterans Affairs (VA) Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System researchers used a biosensor developed by GeneFluidics to correctly identify the infection-causing bacteria species in 98 percent of the 78 urine samples tested.

Laboratories currently grow urine bacteria in culture dishes until they can be visually identified. The major drawback of this technique is the two-day lag between specimen collection and bacteria identification. Doctors must decide whether to prescribe antibiotic therapy and, if so, which type of bacteria to treat—all without knowing the infection’s cause. The new biosensor would enable physicians to prescribe targeted treatment in a clinically relevant timeframe.

“Our research showed that GeneFluidics’ biosensor avoided problems inherent in alternative molecular approaches, such as PCR, that require the repeated copying of bacterial DNA or RNA prior to testing. We found that these amplification methods do not provide reproducible results,” says lead author Dr. Joseph Liao, UCLA clinical instructor of urology.

The study was performed in the laboratory of Dr. David Haake, VA staff physician and UCLA professor of medicine. Dr. Bernard Churchill, chief of pediatric urology at the Clark-Morrison Children’s Urological Center at UCLA, was principal investigator.
The potential for rapid bacterial detection was discovered in the laboratory of Dr. Edward R.B. McCabe, chair of pediatrics at the Mattel Children’s Hospital at UCLA and a GeneFluidics adviser.
The team anticipates the rapid test could become available in the next two to three years.

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