Wednesday, October 12, 2011

FISH Can Be Utilized For Infectious Disease

Making Germs Glow - we've noticed the trend of FISH testing being used not only for its key application of cancer testing but, increasingly, for detection of infectious disease. A University of Arizona team has found that a specific type of FISH testing can reduce wait time to deliver eager patients news about bloodstream infections.

Every year, more than 875,000 patients are diagnosed with bloodstream infections in the U.S., resulting in more than 90,000 deaths and significant costs to the health-care system.  The article one company utilizing a PNA-FISH (peptide nucleic acid fluorescent in situ hybridization) technology that can provide evidence of infection in hours and not days.  FISH uses fluorescent molecules tagged to genetic sequences that match those in the microbe. When added to a dried drop of blood culture containing pathogens, sequences that find their match inside the microbe cling to the pathogens.  

These type of results will propel use of these technologies for FISH testing.  We expect competition to expand in this market as key companies like Abbott are joined by smaller concerns. 

The problem that better diagnostics can solve is not only the matter of treatment lag time and patient outcomes that one might expect - of course the patient is better served when the condition is correctly identified -but also the use of antibiotics.  In medical practice, a lag time means that more often than not, antibiotics will be prescribed, even in cases where test results might have eliminated that prescription