Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Identifying dangerous infections early

16.10.2013
Harmful bacteria can colonize artificial joints or other implants in the body. Researchers from Würzburg and the Netherlands have developed a method for detecting such infections early.

Staphylococci are bacteria that are particularly feared in hospitals. This is because a staphylococcal infection can be life-threatening for patients whose immune system is weakened, as is the case, for example, after a major procedure such as an organ transplant. Staphylococci pose special problems since they are also resistant to various antibiotics.


Evidence of a staphylococcal infection in the leg muscle of a mouse with the new fluorescent agent vanco-800CW. A fluorescence signal can be seen beneath the pelvis of the animal because the agent collects in the bladder before it is excreted in urine.

Image: Kevin P. Francis, Caliper (Alameda, California, USA)

Such infections are also dangerous for patients who receive artificial joints, for instance, or other implants. With implants, in particular, there is a risk of the bacteria forming so-called biofilms on top of them: the microbes surround themselves with a mucus sheath, which protects them very well against medication.

Possible consequences of an infection

“If an infection of this kind gets out of hand, the implant may have to be surgically removed again,” says Knut Ohlsen from the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology at the University of Würzburg. After that, the infected region is “remediated” before a new implant can be inserted. All in all, this is a lengthy process and one that is very stressful for the patient.

So, it is important to identify implant infections as early as possible. Now, for the first time, research teams from the University of Groningen in the Netherlands are presenting a suitable method in the journal “Nature Communications”. Knut Ohlsen and Tina Schäfer from the University of Würzburg helped develop it.

How the new “tracker” works

The scientists have developed an agent that could be described as a “fluorescent tracker”: it locates even the smallest quantities of harmful staphylococci in the body and marks them so that they can be identified from outside with a special camera. The “tracker” is the common antibiotic Vancomycin coupled to a new fluorescent dye.

The technique has proven its suitability in experiments with mice. If it can also be used in humans, it may be possible to avoid implant infections and secondary operations in the future: if there are any signs of an infection after an implant has been inserted, such as a fever or abnormal protein in the blood, the “tracker” could be administered to the patient as a contrast agent. Then, using a video camera that records the agent’s fluorescence signals, the location and extent of the infection could be determined immediately and countermeasures introduced.

The new agent called vanco-800CW is now set to be developed further for use in humans under the direction of the Dutch researchers. Corresponding clinical trials are being planned.

What was done in Würzburg

As part of the project, Tina Schäfer and Knut Ohlsen examined the suitability of the new agent. Which bacteria does the fluorescence-labeled Vancomycin provide any evidence of and how well can its fluorescence be shown with different detection techniques? These questions were answered in Würzburg. Fluorescence imaging is a focus of research activity at the Institute for Molecular Infection Biology. The work is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) in Transregional Collaborative Research Center 34.

“Real-time in vivo imaging of invasive- and biomaterial-associated bacterial infections using fluorescently labeled vancomycin”, Marleen van Oosten, Tina Schäfer, Joost A.C. Gazendam, Knut Ohlsen, Eleni Tsompanidou, Marcus C. de Goffau, Hermie J.M. Harmsen, Lucia M.A. Crane, Ed Lim, Kevin P. Francis, Lael Cheung, Michael Olive, Vasilis Ntziachristos, Jan Maarten van Dijl, Gooitzen M. van Dam. Nature Communications, 15 October 2013, DOI: 10.1038/ncomms3584

Contact

Dr. Knut Ohlsen, Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, University of Würzburg, T +49 (0)931 31-82155, knut.ohlsen@uni-wuerzburg.de

Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Further information:
http://www.uni-wuerzburg.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease
22.08.2017 | Duke University

nachricht Once invincible superbug squashed by 'superteam' of antibiotics
22.08.2017 | University at Buffalo

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Fizzy soda water could be key to clean manufacture of flat wonder material: Graphene

Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.

As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

What the world's tiniest 'monster truck' reveals

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Treating arthritis with algae

23.08.2017 | Life Sciences

Witnessing turbulent motion in the atmosphere of a distant star

23.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>