A research team has developed a new way of specifically identifying bacterial infections caused by the Burkholderia cepacia complex (BCC) in patients with cystic fibrosis (CF). In order to find a more efficient method of identifying BCC infection in the serum of CF patients, the researchers made use of the design of peptide microarray platforms, which combine structural and genomic analyses of the interaction of proteins produced during infection with BCC with analyses of CF patients’ immune systems.

Researchers evaluated 14 serum samples from patients with BCC infection and 11 serum samples from CF patients without the infection. The team then compared these to 14 samples from healthy individuals. The results of the study showed that such peptide microarray platforms advanced the application of molecular diagnostics beyond its current limits, detecting BCC positive samples with confidence exceeding 97%, according to Cystic Fibrosis News Today.

Also, the new method showed high diagnostic specificity and sensitivity, even in the presence of other bacterial infections. The Cystic Fibrosis News Today report notes that current diagnostic techniques for detecting and identifying opportunistic infections in CF patients can be very expensive and time consuming, and can also lack the capacity to discriminate and identify the pathogen involved.

The researchers say that the new diagnostics platform can overcome such limitations and may be further improved to respond to a broader spectrum of CF-associated infections with advantages such as increased effectiveness and lower costs. Although the study’s authors specifically designed and tested their method on BCC infection, they believe it has the potential to be extended to other pathogens or other diagnostic needs, reports Cystic Fibrosis News Today.

Further studies on a larger clinical scale will be required to confirm the diagnostic potential of this new tool, the report indicates.

Source: Cystic Fibrosis News Today