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
Dr. Knut Ohlsen, Institute for Molecular Infection Biology, University of Würzburg, T +49 (0)931 31-82155, email@example.com
Robert Emmerich | Uni Würzburg
Millions through license revenues
27.04.2017 | Rheinische Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universität Bonn
New High-Performance Center Translational Medical Engineering
26.04.2017 | Fraunhofer ITEM
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
27.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
27.04.2017 | Information Technology
26.04.2017 | Materials Sciences