Navigation Links
Blood Test May Catch Deadly Fungal Infection Quickly
Date:4/24/2013

By Amy Norton
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, April 24 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental test could help doctors catch a deadly type of fungal infection in the blood within a few hours, rather than the few days it currently takes, a new study suggests.

The test, which is not yet on the market, looks for Candida infection in the blood. The fungus is best known for causing common vaginal yeast infections, but when it gets into the bloodstream it can cause serious infections of organs and tissue throughout the body.

Candida blood infections -- known as candidemia -- are very rare in healthy people, but they are the fourth most common type of blood infection among U.S. hospital patients, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The infection is typically transmitted through contaminated catheters, and seen in seriously ill patients -- such as those in the intensive care unit, or with weakened immune systems.

The symptoms of candidemia are vague, and include fever and chills, so doctors use blood cultures to diagnose it. That means putting a blood sample in a special broth that feeds the yeast organism until it grows enough to be detected.

But Candida "is a slow grower," and it takes a few days to get blood culture results back, said Thomas Lowery of T2 Biosystems, the Lexington, Mass.-based company developing the new test.

By that time, it may be too late for the patient. About 40 percent of people with Candida blood infections die, and delayed diagnosis bears part of the blame, Lowery and his colleagues write in the April 24 issue of the journal Science Translational Medicine.

Getting a precise diagnosis is vital, Lowery said, both to confirm that it's Candida, and to pinpoint which type it is. "You need to know the specific Candida so you can use the right antifungal drug," he said.

In the new study, Lowery's team found that the test they've developed can reliably detect the five most common species of Candida within about three hours.

The researchers used blood samples from healthy people and "spiked" them with Candida yeast. They then analyzed the samples with the new test and with standard blood cultures. The two tests were in agreement on "positives" 98 percent of the time.

An expert not involved in the research said the test's sensitivity is "very, very good."

"This is preliminary, but the technology looks extremely promising," said Christine Ginocchio, chief of infectious disease diagnostics at North Shore-LIJ Health System in Lake Success, N.Y.

What's particularly "exciting" is that the technology could potentially be used to test for other pathogens that cause serious bloodstream infections, according to Ginocchio, who is also a member of the Infectious Diseases Society of America's Diagnostics Task Force.

Ideally, Ginocchio explained, when doctors suspect a patient has a bloodstream infection, they would be able to take a blood sample, directly test it, then have a result in a few hours. The problem right now is that a blood sample would normally not contain enough of the culprit bug -- be it a fungus or bacterium -- to detect.

Plus, Ginocchio noted, the blood contains a lot of other genetic material that gets in the way of spotting that bit of foreign-invader DNA. That's why blood cultures are done.

The new test, which is based on so-called magnetic resonance technology, essentially removes the "noise" coming from other material in the blood sample, allowing it to zero in on the pathogen.

There is still more work to be done. "Now you'd like to see this tested in a larger, multicenter trial," Ginocchio said.

The process would also need to be automated, she noted, to be feasible for smaller community hospitals. T2 Biosystems' Lowery said the researchers are working on making the method "fully automated."

Exactly what it would all cost is not known. But both Ginocchio and Lowery said that if the test gets more patients on the right drug quickly, the cost would likely be worth it.

According to Lowery's team, research suggests that with Candida infections, starting the right antifungal drug within 12 hours can cut the death rate from 40 percent to 11 percent.

More information

Learn more about Candida blood infections from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: Thomas Lowery, Ph.D., vice president, diagnostics research and development, T2 Biosystems, Lexington, Mass; Christine Ginocchio, Ph.D., chief, infectious disease diagnostics, North Shore-LIJ Health Systems Laboratories, Lake Success, N.Y.; April 24, 2013, Science Translational Medicine, online


'/>"/>
Copyright©2012 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Off-the-Shelf Artificial Blood Vessels Show Promise
2. Exercise, Alternative Therapies May Help Lower Blood Pressure
3. Metastasis stem cells in the blood of breast cancer patients discovered
4. Tekturna Infographic Released by d’Oliveira & Associates Imparts Potential Side Effects of Blood Pressure Drug
5. Blood pressure out of control at safety-net clinics
6. Rockford Ravens Rugby Football Club to Host Blood Drive with Rock River Valley Blood Center
7. Increased risk of cardiovascular disease for pregnant women with high blood pressure
8. 2013 NuvaRing Blood-Clotting Allegations Inquiries Eligible for Review by Resource4thePeople Attorneys
9. Blood Drive at Crimson Pointe Assisted Living Facility with Rock River Valley Blood Center
10. Could Coffee Bean Extract Help Control Blood Sugar?
11. Blood tests can provide fuller picture of mutations in cancer than traditional biopsies do
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Blood Test May Catch Deadly Fungal Infection Quickly
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort ... the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients ... seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... People across the U.S. ... magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and their families pay ... be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) Annual Education Conference ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... The Haute ... Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as a prominent plastic surgeon and the network’s newest ... world, and the most handsome men, look naturally attractive. Plastic surgery should be ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , ... June 24, 2016 , ... ... actively feeding the Frederick area economy by obtaining investment capital for emerging technology ... past 2½ years that have already resulted in more than a million dollars ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Venture Construction Group (VCG) sponsors Luke’s Wings 5th Annual ... Country Club at 1201 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland, 20852. The event raised funds ... been wounded in battle and their families. Venture Construction Group is a 2016 Silver ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... 27, 2016 Jazz Pharmaceuticals plc (Nasdaq: ... the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended ... Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ("Celator"; Nasdaq: CPXX ) expired ... Time). As previously announced on May 31, ... merger agreement under which Jazz Pharmaceuticals has commenced a ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... HILL, N.C. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... healthcare decisions and regulators/payers have placed more emphasis ... new environment, patient support programs in the pharmaceutical ... for patients, medications. Consequently, pharmaceutical companies are focusing ... ensure they are providing products and services that ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CAMBRIDGE, Mass. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for ... of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, ... Center for Innovation, today announced the five finalists ... Hackathon for Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: