Pressure Bio, Florida International University Collaborate
News Oct 19, 2015
Pressure BioSciences has announced a collaborative research and development agreement with Florida International University ("FIU"). The major goal of the agreement is to develop a rape kit test method based on PBI's PCT Platform, and to have it commercially available within the next 18 months. With a current estimated backlog of 400,000 untested rape kits in the U.S., plus an estimated 180,000 new sexual assault cases annually, there is a significant and immediate need for better test methods to address this national issue. Scientists at PBI and FIU believe that a test method focused on the key intrinsic advantages of PCT can result in an improved rape kit test method with great potential to help reduce this backlog.
The collection of biological samples on cotton swabs for forensic analysis has been standard practice for many years. Unfortunately, the recovery of high quality DNA from these swabs is very difficult, as the biological sample is often trapped in the swab's cotton fibers, resulting in a loss of precious evidence. This is a particular problem with rape kits in which the male suspect's DNA must be isolated from a complex mixture of male and female cells. Many attempts have been made to develop new methods to improve the efficiency and quality of recovery of this evidence, which currently requires an extensive isolation procedure. A recent publication by Drs. McCord and Nori of FIU discussed a novel, PCT-based technique that showed decreased processing times and higher yields while using inexpensive reagents on a semi-automated platform.
Dr. Bruce McCord, Associate Director of FIU's International Forensic Research Institute ("IFRI"), said: "We are excited by this opportunity to expand the range of applications of PCT in forensic analysis, specifically to assist in the development of a rapid and direct alternative to current methods for the analysis of rape kits. In this project, we will further improve and validate this new PCT-based method. We believe this method will be able to isolate male and female DNA, even in situations where trace amounts of male DNA remain. We also believe that this PCT-based method could be significantly faster and provide improved sample recovery when compared to current methods. These advantages should be well received by the forensic community."