With a grant from the Department of Defense, Finegold has taken his passion for research and applied it to a problem that affects civilians as well as injured service members: wound bacteria.
"The flora of wound infections is very complex," he said. "At times there can be 12 or more organisms present, and most clinical laboratories are not proficient in isolating and identifying anaerobes, which often predominate."
Using DNA detection methods though a technique called real-time polymerase chain reaction, the physician-researcher from the West Los Angeles Veterans Administration Medical Center can drastically cut the time it takes for lab personnel to figure out just what bacteria they’re dealing with.
"The big advantage of real-time PCR is that we get quantitative information and accurate identification on the organisms in five hours or so, whereas the current procedure--culturing and identifying organisms by biochemical activity, etc.--can take one to several days and sometimes weeks, depending on the organism," he said.
His technique is also useful in detecting flora that can’t easily be grown in culture because no one’s been able to determine just what the bacteria like in the way of nutrients and environmental conditions.
The earlier the lab staff has answers, the earlier the correct treatment can begin. Initial treatment is necessarily empiric.
"When the patient is quite ill, clinicians necessarily use a broad spectrum (antibiotic), hoping not to overlook anything," Finegold said. "The resulting overuse of antibiotics definitely contributes to antibiotic resistance."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site, antibiotic resistance is a growing threat to the general population, as well as the military. In fact, more than 70 percent of the bacteria that cause hospital-acquired infections are resistant to at least one of the drugs most commonly used to treat them.
So far Finegold and his colleagues have been able use real-time PCR to detect 20 of the most common bacteria found in wounds, including one, Finegoldia magna, which had been named after him in the past. A World War II and Korean War veteran who confesses he’s had an "ongoing love affair with anaerobes for several decades," Finegold has two additional eponymous bacteria--Alistipes finegoldia and Bacteroides finegoldii--that will probably also be found in wounds but aren’t part of those detectable by PCR. Yet.
"We will definitely add to the list," he said. "We are currently basing our selection of organisms to detect (through real-time PCR) on the current literature on surgical infections, but we expect to find many more organisms with the molecular techniques we will use."
Finegold’s research endeavors were funded, in part, by a grant from the DoD’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program. Congress created the program in 1999 to promote research in health issues the military faces. Since its inception through 2005, the program has spent almost $300 million to fund nearly 200 projects in a range of medical topics, including combat casualty care and technology and infectious disease research.
Though Finegold’s research funding comes from the Defense Department, his results will help both military and civilian patients.
"Most of us in infectious diseases are looking for ways to speed up microbiologic results so that we can treat more intelligently from the beginning," he said. "We see surgical wound infections commonly, and when the DoD put out a request for proposals it was an opportunity to get good funding so that we could make some headway in this important area."
Finegold’s study is a four-year project, and his team is awaiting approvals to test the real-time PCR detection method on actual patients. As his work progresses, he hopes to publish early results that may be put to use in both civilian and military hospitals, if and when it’s feasible.
For more information on the DoD’s Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program, go to http://cdmrp.army.milprmrpdefault.htm . The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program is one of the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs directed by Col. Janet R. Harris.
The Peer Reviewed Medical Research Program is an administrative funding agent for the U.S. Army Medical Research and Materiel Command. The command is the Army’s medical materiel developer, with lead agency responsibility for medical research, development and acquisition.
The command’s expertise in these critical areas helps establish and maintain the capabilities required by the Army to fight and win on the battlefield.
Karen Fleming-Michael | EurekAlert!
Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy