Detection of Pathogens in Minutes, Not Hours or Days, Will Improve Patient Care

Dr. Daniel Malamud, professor of basic sciences at the New York University College of Dentistry, was recently awarded a five-year, $9,000,000 grant from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to continue developing a portable microfluidic “lab-on-a-chip” for rapid point-of-care detection of multiple bacterial and viral targets using oral fluids.

The device uses a disposable cassette in which a fluid sample is divided into a series of channels, and then a series of reactions are carried out to amplify the sample and detect specific bacterial or viral signals. It will be possible to simultaneously detect the presence of 10 or more different infections using Up-converting Phosphor Technology (UPT) and an existing reader.

“Most molecules that are in blood are also in an oral fluid sample,” notes Dr. Malamud. “There are numerous benefits to the oral sample over the drawing of blood. It’s generally cheaper, because you don’t need a trained phlebotomist, oral testing poses a lower risk of infection to the health care provider, and in pediatric or geriatric cases, rubbing a wand inside the mouth is much more desirable than getting stuck with a needle.”

This device could be used in a doctor’s office, emergency room, public health care setting, or in a mobile response unit to collect a sample; and within minutes, not hours or days, a diagnosis can be made, thus permitting rapid therapeutic intervention.

Malamud joined NYUCD in the fall of 2005 and has been involved in HIV research for the past 15 years. The present device will be tested using clinical samples to detect HIV infection along with several bacterial and viral diseases that occur as opportunistic infections in HIV/AIDS patients.

The NIDCR grant supports a cooperative research program which includes Malamud as the principal investigator, with sub-contracts to the University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering, the Chemistry Department at Lehigh University, and the Cell and Molecular Biology Department at Leiden University Medical Center in the Netherlands.

Founded in 1865, New York University College of Dentistry (NYUCD) is the third oldest and the largest dental school in the United States, educating more than 8 percent of all dentists. NYUCD has a significant global reach and provides a level of national and international diversity among its students that is unmatched by any other dental school.

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