Inexpensive Genetic Detection of Infectious Organisms
DESCRIPTION (Applicant's abstract): The proposed project is aimed at developing
a very inexpensive and rapid diagnostic test that can be used to identify
specific infectious organisms. The goal is to make the cost so low that managed
health organizations would encourage its regular use in clinical settings, thus
greatly reducing prescriptions for antibiotics in cases where they are
ineffective, and consequently reducing one source of antimicrobial-resistant
strains of bacteria. The proposed diagnostic test is based upon DNA array
technology, which can be designed to not only identify infectious pathogens but
also determine if antimicrobial resistant bacteria strains are present. The
unique feature of the proposed test is that it utilizes an electrical property
that is very inexpensive to measure. The test is based on the fact that, under
the appropriate conditions, the increase in effective dielectric thickness
caused by binding a small amount of DNA to an insulating monolayer on a metal
conductor will produce a significant, readily measurable change in measured
capacitance. In Phase I, controlled tests are proposed to characterize the new
technique and assess its likely effectiveness in a clinical setting. In Phase
II, DNA array will be developed to detect common pathogens.
PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATION:
A low-cost DNA-based diagnostic test for infectious pathogens could be utilized in
essentially every hospital and clinic in the world. As antimicrobial-resistant bacteria
become more common, the need for such tests will gain widespread acceptance.
We estimate that tens of millions of the arrays will eventually be used each year in
U.S. hospitals alone.
Small Business Information at Submission:
Principal Investigator:Tom J. Whitaker
ATOM SCIENCES, INC.
114 RIDGEWAY CTR OAK RIDGE, TN 37830
Number of Employees: