Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Infection detectives use disease 'fingerprints' to track common infections in children

15.03.2007
Infectious disease specialists at UT Southwestern Medical Center have found a new method for identifying suspect viruses and bacteria that cause some of the most common acute infections in children.

Traditionally, researchers have looked for clues to an infection by tracking down the virus or bacteria causing it. But that doesn’t always work because the bacteria or virus may not be present in the blood or other easily accessible area.

Researchers at UT Southwestern, Children’s Medical Center Dallas and Baylor Institute for Immunology Research came up with a different approach – analyzing the telltale "fingerprints" a disease leaves behind on cells involved in the immune response, and using that information to get a composite sketch of the infectious agent.

"We are genetically programmed to respond differently to different infections. We have developed the tools to understand that," said Dr. Octavio Ramilo, professor of pediatrics at UT Southwestern and lead author of a study appearing in the March edition of the journal Blood.

"Infectious diseases are the No.1 cause of death in the world. So we hope this eventually can be used not only to diagnose, but also to understand the prognosis and how the body is responding to therapy," he said.

Different viruses and bacteria trigger the activation of very specific genes that code for proteins called receptors in leukocytes, the white blood cells th at help the body fight infections. Researchers surmised that if they looked at the leukocytes, they could detect the specific pattern of receptors – similar to a disease "fingerprint" – and be able to identify which infection was present. The process to identify such biosignatures is called gene expression profiling, and it’s done using microarray analysis.

Researchers extracted genetic material called RNA from a drop of blood and placed it on a special gene chip called a microarray, which contains probes for the whole human genome and measures which genes are turned on or off.

In this study, researchers analyzed gene expression patterns in leukocytes from 29 children at Children’s known to have one of four common infections: flu (influenza A); staph (Staphylococcus aureus); strep (Streptococcus pneumoniae); or E. coli (Escherichia coli).

They analyzed 35 genes that help distinguish infections and identified infectious agents with better-than-average success rates. Doctors were able to distinguish between the influenza, E. coli and strep infections in 95 percent of cases. A different set of genes distinguished E. coli from staph infections with 85 percent accuracy. Further investigation demonstrated clear distinction between viral and bacterial pneumonias.

The next step will be to study whether the microarray analysis can be applied in a more challenging clinical setting, such as an emergency room.

"When a child comes in with a fever to the ER, we want to see if we can predict who just has a virus and can go home, and who has to be admitted and put into the intensive care unit and treated with antibiotics. That’s our goal," said Dr. Ramilo. "This is just the first step. But it establishes a basis for us to do that."

While pediatricians couldn’t perform the analysis in their offices, researchers are already thinking about a possible way they could send in the results from the chip and get the analysis back via the Internet, for example.

"Pediatricians understand that this could change the way we do things," said Dr. Ramilo, who leads pediatric infectious disease research at UT Southwestern and Children’s.

It could also prove useful for identifying previously unknown illnesses or biological weapons.

"Even if we don’t know which pathogen it is, we still can tell which family or which group it’s in, so if someone engineers a virus that has never been seen, we will have hints that it’s close to something that is known," he said.

Further studies may eventually help doctors track the progression of disease and help assess risks of complications, Dr. Ramilo said.

Russell Rian | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsouthwestern.edu/home/news/index.html

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Using fragment-based approaches to discover new antibiotics
21.06.2018 | SLAS (Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening)

nachricht Scientists learn more about how gene linked to autism affects brain
19.06.2018 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

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: Temperature-controlled fiber-optic light source with liquid core

In a recent publication in the renowned journal Optica, scientists of Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology (Leibniz IPHT) in Jena showed that they can accurately control the optical properties of liquid-core fiber lasers and therefore their spectral band width by temperature and pressure tuning.

Already last year, the researchers provided experimental proof of a new dynamic of hybrid solitons– temporally and spectrally stationary light waves resulting...

Im Focus: Overdosing on Calcium

Nano crystals impact stem cell fate during bone formation

Scientists from the University of Freiburg and the University of Basel identified a master regulator for bone regeneration. Prasad Shastri, Professor of...

Im Focus: AchemAsia 2019 will take place in Shanghai

Moving into its fourth decade, AchemAsia is setting out for new horizons: The International Expo and Innovation Forum for Sustainable Chemical Production will take place from 21-23 May 2019 in Shanghai, China. With an updated event profile, the eleventh edition focusses on topics that are especially relevant for the Chinese process industry, putting a strong emphasis on sustainability and innovation.

Founded in 1989 as a spin-off of ACHEMA to cater to the needs of China’s then developing industry, AchemAsia has since grown into a platform where the latest...

Im Focus: First real-time test of Li-Fi utilization for the industrial Internet of Things

The BMBF-funded OWICELLS project was successfully completed with a final presentation at the BMW plant in Munich. The presentation demonstrated a Li-Fi communication with a mobile robot, while the robot carried out usual production processes (welding, moving and testing parts) in a 5x5m² production cell. The robust, optical wireless transmission is based on spatial diversity; in other words, data is sent and received simultaneously by several LEDs and several photodiodes. The system can transmit data at more than 100 Mbit/s and five milliseconds latency.

Modern production technologies in the automobile industry must become more flexible in order to fulfil individual customer requirements.

Im Focus: Sharp images with flexible fibers

An international team of scientists has discovered a new way to transfer image information through multimodal fibers with almost no distortion - even if the fiber is bent. The results of the study, to which scientist from the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technology Jena (Leibniz IPHT) contributed, were published on 6thJune in the highly-cited journal Physical Review Letters.

Endoscopes allow doctors to see into a patient’s body like through a keyhole. Typically, the images are transmitted via a bundle of several hundreds of optical...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Munich conference on asteroid detection, tracking and defense

13.06.2018 | Event News

2nd International Baltic Earth Conference in Denmark: “The Baltic Sea region in Transition”

08.06.2018 | Event News

ISEKI_Food 2018: Conference with Holistic View of Food Production

05.06.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Graphene assembled film shows higher thermal conductivity than graphite film

22.06.2018 | Materials Sciences

Fast rising bedrock below West Antarctica reveals an extremely fluid Earth mantle

22.06.2018 | Earth Sciences

Zebrafish's near 360 degree UV-vision knocks stripes off Google Street View

22.06.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>