- Drug resistance among bacteria can be identified with Raman spectroscopy.
- Raman spectroscopy is commonly used in chemistry to provide a structural fingerprint to help identify molecules.
- Identifying drug resistance among bacteria helps find the needed concentration of antibiotics.
Drug resistance by bacteria can be identified easily with a new method that uses Raman spectroscopy, research at the Leibniz-Institute of Photonic Technologies (Leibniz-IPHT), Center for Sepsis Control and Care at the University Hospital Jena and Friedrich Schiller University finds.
Project manager Prof. Ute Neugebauer illustrates the advantages of this new approach: "We combine light-based analytical methods with microfluidic sample processing. With our Lab-on-a-Chip system, thus a miniaturized lab, we are able to clearly identify bacterial strains and their resistance, in less than three hours".
Standard practices for the infectious diagnostics require up to 72 hours to allow for a reliable result. This is due to the fact, that the number of pathogens in a patients sample is too small to conduct tests. Analysis is therefore only possible after time-consuming cultivation. Especially in clinical application during treatments of severe infections e.g. a sepsis time is a crucial factor. Intensive physicians are confronted with an alarming dilemma: "far too often we have to administer broad-spectrum antibiotics 'blindly', because we can neither analyze pathogen nor potential resistances. Therefore, we possibly use a sled-hammer to crack a nut. A vicious cycle that aides the development of new resistances", explains Prof. Michael Bauer, director of the Clinic of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care at the University Hospital Jena.
Prof. Jürgen Popp, director of the Leibniz-IPHT and head of the Institute of Physical Chemistry of the Friedrich-Schiller University Jena, explains: "After two hours we can already detect distinct changes in the Raman spectra. Out of these, we can derive whether the strain is resistant or sensible. At the same time we get information on the needed concentration of the antibiotic to constrain bacterial growth. This is an important diagnostic parameter that influences the success of a treatment decidedly", Popp continues.
The combination of fast, light-based diagnostics and a high automation level reduces the time from sampling to result from to date 72 to three and a half hours. "Such a fast procedure could revolutionize diagnostics of infectious diseases", Prof. Bettina Löffler, director of the Institute of Medical Microbiology at the University Hospital Jena, is sure about that.
Currently, researchers work at a platform for the application in hospitals. Another, more far reaching, aim is the further development into a cartridge-based rapid test system, which will enable general practitioners to identify resistances in a fast and easy way for the first time. Thereby, physicians would hold a powerful tool, from which they could benefit in personalized therapy; this means the administration of a fitting drug.
- Johanna Kirchhoff, Uwe Glaser et al. Simple Ciprofloxacin Resistance Test and Determination of Minimal Inhibitory Concentration within 2 h Using Raman Spectroscopy, Analytical Chemistry DOI: 10.1021/acs.analchem.7b03800