Albany Med researchers are deter-mining whether a new test could cut the time it takes to diagnose certain bloodstream infections from days to minutes.
The novel test employs nanotechnology to immediately reveal the presence of particular germs in the bloodstream.
“Infections in the blood can be life-threatening and need to be diagnosed quickly and accurately,” said Marc A. Judson, MD, chief of the Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine and principal investigator for the study.
Currently, bacterial and fungal infections in the bloodstream are diagnosed in cultures that can take as many as three days to grow. While physicians can start patients on antibiotics or other treatments based on symptoms and laboratory findings, they cannot know for sure the specific infection until the cultures are processed.
This new test could be a game-changer by helping us identify the responsible bacterium or fungus within minutes so that appropriate therapy can be started, potentially saving lives,” Dr. Judson said.
In the study, molecules with mag-netized nanoparticles are introduced to the blood to attract and reveal specific bacteria or fungus.
It will be at least a year before the data is fully analyzed and findings are issued.
Also working on the study, which is being undertaken with T2 Biosystems of Lexington, Mass., are research coordinators Nancy Giebelhaus, RN, clinical research nurse, Haroon Chaudhry, MBBS, and Neha Rane, MD.