SUNNYVALE, Calif., March 20, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Cepheid (NASDAQ: CPHD) today announced that, together with the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), it has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop sample processing and amplification methods for highly-sensitive detection of bloodstream bacteria using nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) on the GeneXpert® System. The $1.3 million grant is for the first year of an expected five-year, $5.5 million program.
While the program is being administered by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) through its Partnerships for Biodefense special emphasis program, the company also expects to be able to employ the technology in future clinical products, including planned Xpert® tests for sepsis, ventilator pneumonia, and other critical infectious diseases.
"Cepheid's scientists will focus primarily on sample preparation methods for infectious agents from a wide variety of difficult sample types, especially whole blood — one of the most difficult specimens for sepsis detection," said John Bishop, Cepheid's Chief Executive Officer. "Clinicians want accurate, rapid results directly from a patient specimen without waiting for culture results. This program is expected to contribute to the advancement of products where difficult sample types are present."
Because even an extremely low concentration of bacteria present in a patient's blood can cause life-threatening sepsis, tests to detect blood stream infections (BSI) must be highly sensitive. Most blood stream infections are currently diagnosed by performing a series of blood cultures, a time-consuming process that typically takes days to produce a positive result, and even longer to predict treatment susceptibility.
The overarching goal of the project, scheduled to run through Febr
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