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Diagnostics Microbiology and immunology, Technology and innovation, Screening and monitoring, Analytical science

Diving Into Diagnostics

When fighting a superbug, there’s no victory without effective treatment. But all too often, researchers’ attention is focused on the end of the patient pathway – on the antimicrobial agent itself, rather than on the journey to its administration. But how can we appropriately treat multi-drug-resistant infections unless we first have the ability to identify the causative pathogen and then determine which antibiotics might have a positive impact? That’s the problem my colleagues and I chose to tackle in the hopes that we could shave hours, or even days, off the time taken to treat. Right now, there’s a significant lack of rapid diagnosis because of the amount of time it takes to culture bacteria and confirm their identity – and during that time, an infection may spread, develop resistance, or even kill a patient. To address this vital gap, we developed a “microfluidic cantilever” – a small device that can trap bacteria and enable resistance testing.

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  1. H Etayash et al., “Microfluidic cantilever detects bacteria and measures their susceptibility to antibiotics in small confined volumes”, Nat Commun, 7, 12947 (2016). PMID: 27698375.

About the Author

Hashem Etayash

Hashem Etayash is a PhD candidate in Pharmacy and Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Alberta, Edmonton, Canada.

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