New procedure for the diagnosis of infectious diseases
Every year, infectious diseases are the cause of millions of deaths worldwide, with a large proportion of these infections being caused by so-called biofilm infections, which have so far been difficult to diagnose, reports the German Heart Center Berlin. With a new method, the diagnostic options - and thus also the treatment options - could be significantly improved in the future.
Infectious diseases are among the ten leading causes of death in Europe and many of these diseases are due to so-called biofilm infections. In such cases, the diagnosis has so far been extremely difficult. In the iSOLID joint project, which is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), "the fast and reliable detection of such infections with the help of digital image diagnostics" is now to be researched. Recommendations for suitable therapies are also the goal of the collaborative project.
Biofilm infections are particularly difficult to detect
In the iSOLID (Integrated Solutions for Infection Detection) joint project, the biofilm center of the German Heart Center Berlin, the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, HB Technologies AG and CHILI GmbH are working together on new solutions for the diagnosis of biofilm infections. Using digital image diagnostics, the infections should be diagnosed faster and more reliably. The biofilm infections are responsible for a significant proportion of serious infectious diseases, but so far there are no suitable diagnostic methods for their detection and targeted therapy, reports the German Heart Center Berlin.
FISH method for the detection of bacteria
The researchers use the so-called "fluorescence in situ hybridization" (FISH) as a diagnostic method, which is based on fluorescence-labeled DNA probes and, according to the experts, combines the advantages of molecular biology, fluorescence microscopy and histology. This is intended to enable the specific diagnosis of infectious diseases that can be traced back to biofilms. "Thanks to the FISH examination, biofilms are routinely visible and detectable for the first time," emphasizes Dr. Annette Moter from the German Heart Center Berlin. With the method, the bacteria involved in the infection can be detected and identified so that a specific therapy can be initiated promptly, the expert reports. A quick and specific detection of pathogens is essential for the correct choice of antibiotic therapy.
Development of new prevention and treatment methods
Although the FISH method is already known, it is based on very large amounts of image data, the analysis of which is complex and complex. In the current collaborative project, a digital method of image analysis for the automatic detection and quantification of microorganisms is to be developed. The "workflow integration and sample handling solution for the quantitative analysis of biofilms for the development of new prevention and treatment methods" are also goals of the project. With the help of an intuitively operated image communication and archive system (PACS), all relevant image files should be saved and edited quickly and securely, reports the German Heart Center Berlin.
Initially, it is planned to test the desired methods in the iSOLID collaborative project on clinical tissue samples and also to evaluate the corresponding workflow as part of a diagnostic study. Subsequently, structural possibilities are to be created in order to “routinely use the FISH method nationally and internationally, thereby closing a gap in the diagnosis of infectious diseases,” the scientists report. (fp)