Accelr8 Technology Corporation has announced that the company has begun joint research programs with Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) School of Medicine and with the Denver Health and Hospital Authority.
The two institutions will conduct pre-clinical studies to identify antibiotic resistance mechanisms using Accelr8’s patented analytical methods. The company intends its BACcel® system, in development, to use these methods to speed the diagnosis of life-threatening infections in critically ill patients, and particularly for healthcare-associated infections (HAI). Organisms targeted by the system include the so-called “superbug” multi-drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA, Pseudomonas, Acinetobacter, Klebsiella, E. coli, and related microbes.
Initial studies will expand those previously presented by Accelr8 scientists at leading scientific and medical conferences. The studies will provide independent third-party assessments of Accelr8’s test performance.
The first phase will replicate studies on Accelr8’s MRSA identification method. MRSA is the multi-drug resistant “superbug” most often reported in recent news stories. Accelr8 scientists have already presented data that demonstrated the ability to identify difficult MRSA strains in a challenge collection provided by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The new studies will substantially expand the number of isolates (pure bacterial strains) used to statistically characterize Accelr8’s test performance. The new isolates will include organisms obtained from recent cases and will thus include strain variations that reflect current bacterial populations.
After fulfillment of the current agreements, the company plans to extend studies to additional test types. Additional planned studies ultimately lead to prospective comparisons against standard laboratory methods (bacterial cultures) using new patient specimens.
Accelr8 has used its analytical methods in pilot studies of bacteria and antibiotic resistance mechanisms that are more difficult to identify than MRSA and that cause greater mortality. Alternative rapid tests do not exist for these additional bacteria and drug resistance types.
According to David Howson, Accelr8’s president, “we are very pleased that the respected investigators at these institutions will collaborate on studies of our innovative diagnostic methods. The studies will provide independent technical assessments. This important step reflects our confidence gained through internal scientific studies and development efforts.
“These pre-clinical studies will use laboratory instruments that allow rapid adaptation and upgrading as we proceed with product development. This plan will give us direct feedback from actual field experience as we integrate each additional test or engineering advance into the system.