A novel technology that can test cells in minutes for responses to any stimulus, including antibiotics, pathogens, toxins, radiation or chemotherapy, has been developed by scientists at the University at Buffalo.
The paper describing the sensor will appear in the Feb. 15 issue of Analytical Chemistry, and currently is available as an "ASAP" article on the American Chemical Society Web site http://www.chemistry.org.
Susan Z. Hua, Ph.D., UB assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and physiology and biophysics, is the lead researcher. The technology is based on the universal connection between cell volume and the cell environment, or cell volume cytometry. It is particularly useful because it eliminates the need to culture bacteria to assess their sensitivity to antibiotics. "Now, in a matter of minutes, we can tell if particular antibiotics are active against specific bacteria," said Frederick Sachs, Ph.D., professor of physiology and biophysics at UB, co-director of UB’s Center for Single Molecule Biophysics and a coauthor on the paper. "We have measured the sensitivity to antibiotics of different strains of E. Coli in less than 10 minutes at room temperature. We will get results even faster at higher temperatures."
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