A medical device developed to diagnose cancer has been adapted to rapidly diagnose the bacterial infection tuberculosis (TB).
The high-tech device incorporates both microfluidic technology with nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to allow for the detection of particular types of bacteria, including the species responsible for TB (Mycobacterium) and other types of bacteria that are responsible for hospital infections.
Tuberculosis is a common, and in many cases lethal, infectious disease caused by various strains of mycobacteria, usually Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Tuberculosis may infect any part of the body, but most commonly occurs in the lungs. Globally, tuberculosis is the second most common cause of death from infectious disease (after those due to HIV/AIDS).
According to the World Health Organization around nine million people become sick and around 1.4 million die from tuberculosis each year.
The device is capable of diagnosing infections within three hours of a sample being processed. This works by examining blood samples for ‘biomarkers’ (indicators of a particular disease). Here cells are first labeled with magnetic nanoparticles, and then the sample is then passed through a micro system capable of detecting the target.
Massachusetts General Hospital
Microfluidic Device for Rapid TB Diagnosis
The device was sensitive enough to detect as few as one or two bacteria in a 10 ml blood sample.
The device was developed by staff working at the Massachusetts General Hospital. The findings have been reported in the journals Nature Communications and Nature Nanotechnology.