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Test helps in fight against lung infections and for treating other life-threatening infections

Edmonton, Alberta A new test developed by Edmonton-based Innovotech™ Inc. will now allow doctors to more accurately identify the right antibiotics required to treat serious, chronic infections that are biofilm based. With more than 80 per cent of infections in the developed world caused by biofilms, the potential for this new breakthrough test, called bioFILM PA™, is of immense significance to the medical community.

Chronic infections place a major cost burden on the health system. Patients spend more time in hospitals, antibiotic costs and treatment costs increase as more aggressive treatment options are explored, and the potential always exists for these infections to cause death.

Until bioFILM PA™, treatment of chronic infections required trying different antibiotics until one or several together eliminated or controlled the bacteria in the biofilm. With each failed treatment, not only would a patient's health be jeopardized, and health care costs increased, but the bacteria would be more likely to develop resistance to one or more antibiotics. Biofilm infections can be 1000 times more resistant to antibiotics than conventional infections.

Now, for the first time ever, the breakthrough test developed by Innovotech™ Inc. has shown very positive results in selecting proper antibiotic treatment for serious lung infections in patients with Cystic Fibrosis (CF), a population recognized as having among the most life threatening lung infections. Clinical research of bioFILM PA™ shows how the test can provide guidance to doctors on the right antibiotics to treat infections in a biofilm state.

In developing bioFILM PA™, Innovotech™ recognized that current testing was for free-floating or single bacteria, whereas CF lung infections and other chronic infections were caused by bacteria in a biofilm state which are much more difficult to kill than free-floating bacteria.

While the clinical research focused on patients with CF, the bioFILM PA™ test shows potential for use on other serious bacterial biofilm infections caused by this bacterium, such as chronic pneumonia, burns and wounds. Furthermore, Innovotech™ has development plans in place for companion products to bioFILM PA™ that will address biofilm infections caused by other bacteria such as infections of catheters, artificial joints, mechanical heart valves and other devices.

Innovotech™ Inc. developed bioFILM PA™ and the University of Alberta Hospital laboratory, under the direction of Dr. Robert Rennie, Site Chief, Laboratory Medicine and Dr. Neil Brown, Director, Adult Cystic Fibrosis Clinic conducted the clinical research from 2007 to 2009.

The clinical research involved 14 patients with cystic fibrosis at the University of Alberta hospital CF clinic. The patients ranged from 9 to 51 years of age.

One patient was receiving intravenous antibiotics for a lung infection but continued to decline in health and lung function. The same antibiotics had been used for an earlier infection and had been successful. The patient was hospitalized, the antibiotics were changed, but the patient continued to decline. Using the bioFILM PA™ kit as guidance, an additional antibiotic not normally used in CF lung infections was added. The patient responded to the treatment, was discharged and is still symptom free after more than one year.

In another case, a patient was on a lung transplant waiting list, and was receiving oral and inhaled antibiotics, but showed a continuous decline in health and lung function. The doctors admitted the patient to hospital in an attempt to stabilize the patient prior to transplantation. A bioFILM PA™ test was ordered and consequently a new combination of antibiotics was administered. The lung transplant was conducted successfully and the patient has been symptom free for more than two years.

Contact: Lesley MacDonald
Innovotech Inc.

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