(HealthDay News) – A small, portable device can detect Candida bloodstream infection, an often fatal fungal bloodstream infection, rapidly and accurately, according to a study published in the April 24 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Noting that bloodstream infections of Candida spp have a 40% mortality rate due to long diagnostic times, Lori A. Neely, PhD, from T2 Biosystems in Lexington, MA, and colleagues tested a diagnostic based on T2 magnetic resonance (T2MR). They used blood-compatible polymerase chain reaction to amplify Candida DNA from human whole blood, which then binds to nanoparticles coated with a complementary DNA probe and yields nanoparticle clusters, changing the sample’s T2MR signal.

The researchers found that the T2MR detection device could rapidly, accurately, and reproducibly detect as little as one colony-forming unit of five Candida species in <3 hours. Using spiked blood samples, there was also 98% positive agreement and 100% negative agreement between T2MR and blood culture. Blinded testing of blood from 21 patients with symptoms of septicemia also accurately identified patients infected with Candida spp.

“This study shows that the nanoparticle- and T2MR-based detection method is rapid and amenable to automation and offers clinicians the opportunity to detect and identify multiple human pathogens within hours of sample collection,” Neely and colleagues conclude.

The study was funded by T2 Biosystems, and several authors are employees of the company.

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