Rapid, Multiplexed, Testing for Urinary Tract Infections

Lead Research Organisation: University of Leeds


Antimicrobial resistance represents a global challenge that requires a paradigm shift in healthcare to resolve. Antibiotics are becoming less effective due to increased resistance associated with their overuse and mis-prescription. There is a demand not only to develop new antimicrobial compounds but to improve diagnosis and prescribe only as required, and specific to the pathogen.
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) are among the most common types of infections and are a significant cause of mortality, especially among the elderly population with 4835 deaths in England and Wales reported in 2012. UTI is the main indication of community antibiotic prescriptions and costs the NHS >£124 million pa. Many patients are in care home settings or have poor mobility and hence the ability to undertake and remote test, and report the results directly to the patient record would represent a significant advance for infection diagnosis and treatment.

This proposal seeks to build on the public understanding, and general acceptance, of lateral flow tests (LFTs) to develop a test for bacterial infection. The LFT readout will consist of multiple bands (of a different colour) to improve diagnostic accuracy, as well as to identify the type of bugs responsible for the infection.

In summary, we propose to:
1. Develop new targeting agents to recognise the bacterial species responsible for UTIs
2. Develop novel gold nanomaterials that provide strong readouts in the presence of the bacteria
3. Validate a multiplexed device - capable of identifying multiple species in a single test
4. To determine the diagnostic accuracy of the test.
5. To work with patients, care workers, clinicians and SureScreen Diagnostics to design and implement a UTI LFT detection platform.
6. Undertake Health economic study to determine where/how the devices can integrate into the UTI care pathway.
7. Validate LFTs on patient samples and compare to the current gold standard (laboratory culture and microscopy- and typically takes several days)


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