Cus­tom­ized An­tibi­otics Treat­ments Now Pos­si­ble

Tech­nion sys­tem en­ables faster di­ag­nos­tics, ear­lier and more ef­fec­tive treat­ment of in­fec­tious bac­te­ria, and im­proved pa­tient re­cov­ery times

The Jewish Voice - - HEALTH - By: Is­rael 21C Staff

Adi­ag­nos­tic sys­tem de­vel­oped at the Tech­nion-Is­rael In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy en­ables rapid and ac­cu­rate cus­tomiza­tion of an an­tibi­otic to a pa­tient.

If the sys­tem is com­mer­cial­ized, pa­tients with life-threat­en­ing in­fec­tions or in need of ur­gent treat­ment will en­joy faster di­ag­nos­tics, ear­lier and more ef­fec­tive treat­ment of in­fec­tious bac­te­ria and im­proved re­cov­ery times.

The find­ings re­lated to the new Tech­nion di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem were pub­lished re­cently in the Pro­ceed­ings of the Na­tional Acad­emy of Sciences (PNAS).

An­tibi­otics are one of the most ef­fec­tive ways to treat bac­te­rial in­fec­tions. But widespread use of an­tibi­otics ac­cel­er­ates the de­vel­op­ment of re­sis­tant bac­te­rial strains.

In fact, in June, the World Health Or­ga­ni­za­tion up­dated its Essen­tial Medicines List with new ad­vice on use of an­tibi­otics.

“The rise in an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance stems from how we are us­ing – and mis­us­ing – these medicines,” said Dr Suzanne Hill, di­rec­tor of Essen­tial Medicines and Health Prod­ucts. “The new WHO list should help health sys­tem plan­ners and pre­scribers en­sure peo­ple who need an­tibi­otics have ac­cess to them, and en­sure they get the right one, so that the prob­lem of re­sis­tance doesn’t get worse.”

In 2014, in­fec­tions with an­timi­cro­bial re­sis­tance (AMR) claimed the lives of more than 700,000 peo­ple world­wide, in ad­di­tion to a cu­mu­la­tive ex­pen­di­ture of $35 bil­lion a year in the US alone, re­ports the Tech­nion.

Ac­cord­ing to es­tab­lished es­ti­mates, for ev­ery hour that ef­fec­tive an­tibi­otic treat­ment is de­layed, sur­vival rates drop by about 7.6% for pa­tients with sep­tic shock. There­fore, in or­der not to leave the pa­tient with­out ad­e­quate pro­tec­tion while await­ing the re­sults, many doc­tors will pre­scribe an an­tibi­otic with a broad spec­trum of ac­tiv­ity in large doses. This phe­nom­e­non fa­cil­i­tates the emer­gence of AMR and also af­fects the mi­cro­biota – the pop­u­la­tion of “good bac­te­ria” found in the hu­man body that pro­tects it.

“Ev­ery day, tens to hun­dreds of tests are car­ried out at ev­ery hos­pi­tal in Is­rael to map the re­sis­tance lev­els of in­fec­tious bac­te­ria from sam­ples taken from pa­tients. The prob­lem is that this is a very long test, since it is based on send­ing the sam­ple to the lab, grow­ing a bac­te­rial cul­ture in a petri dish and an­a­lyz­ing the cul­ture. This process re­quires rel­a­tively large sam­pling and usu­ally takes a few days, in part be­cause the work­day at labs is lim­ited to around eight hours,” said Tech­nion doc­toral stu­dent Jonathan Avesar, one of the re­searchers on the new sys­tem.

“Our method, on the other hand, pro­vides ac­cu­rate re­sults in a short time based on a much smaller sam­ple. It is ob­vi­ous that a faster re­sponse al­lows us to start treat­ment ear­lier and im­prove the speed of re­cov­ery.”

Fast re­sults

The in­no­va­tive sys­tem de­vel­oped at the Tech­nion, called the SNDA-AST, quickly an­a­lyzes bac­te­ria iso­lated from pa­tients with in­fec­tions and as­sesses their level of re­sis­tance to spe­cific an­tibi­otics. This en­ables the health­care team to choose the most ef­fec­tive an­tibi­otic a day ear­lier than when us­ing tra­di­tional meth­ods.

Tech­nion re­searchers demon­strated the abil­ity to test bac­te­ria di­rectly from pa­tient urine sam­ples, thus skip­ping the iso­la­tion step and po­ten­tially sav­ing two days for pa­tients with uri­nary-tract in­fec­tions.

They de­vel­oped a chip with hun­dreds of nano­liter (1,000 times smaller than a mil­li­liter) wells in­side it, each con­tain­ing a few bac­te­ria and a spe­cific an­tibi­otic. De­tec­tion of the bac­te­rial re­sponse is done us­ing a flu­o­res­cent marker, im­age-pro­cess­ing tools and sta­tis­ti­cal anal­y­sis of the col­ors ob­tained from the bac­te­ria in all the nano­liter wells.

The study tested 12 bac­te­ria-an­tibi­otic com­bi­na­tions.

“The use of the tech­nol­ogy that we de­vel­oped re­duces the size of the re­quired sam­ple by sev­eral or­ders of mag­ni­tude, re­duces the scan­ning time by around 50%, sig­nif­i­cantly re­duces the lab space re­quired for test­ing and re­duces the cost per test,” said Avesar.

The study was led by Prof. Shu­lamit Leven­berg, dean of the

“The rise in an­tibi­otic re­sis­tance stems from how we are us­ing – and mis­us­ing – these medicines,” said Dr Suzanne Hill, di­rec­tor of Essen­tial Medicines and Health Prod­ucts. “The new WHO list should help health sys­tem plan­ners and pre­scribers en­sure peo­ple who need an­tibi­otics have ac­cess to them, and en­sure they get the right one, so that the prob­lem of re­sis­tance doesn’t get worse.”

A di­ag­nos­tic sys­tem de­vel­oped at the Tech­nion-Is­rael In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy en­ables rapid and ac­cu­rate cus­tomiza­tion of an an­tibi­otic to a pa­tient.

An­tibi­otics im­age by The26Jan­uary/Shut­ter­stock.com

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