Aman Russom, Associate Professor and senior lecturer of the School of Biotechnology at KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm and team won the Bio-X medical funding award for a new technology to combat blood stream infections.
Aman was born 1976 in Asmara, Eritrea. The Bio-X medical award supports healthcare science projects and is funded by Uppsala Bio.
Bio-X is a non-profit organization working closely together with the health sector and private industry looking for potential solutions to defined needs in the life science industry and medical care.
This year’s award went to three projects providing solutions to fight hospital-acquired infections aiming at developing products to prevent or diagnose various types of healthcare-associated infections. A group of experts selected the top 3 projects among 35 proposals.
“This is a new project not to be confused with our previous work on converting a commercial DVD drive into a laser scanning microscope to detect HIV “, says Russom.
Sepsis is a serious medical condition characterized by a whole-body inflammatory state caused by infection. The body develops this inflammatory response to micro-organisms in the blood, and the related layman’s term is therefore blood poisoning. Sepsis can lead to septic shock, multiple organ dysfunction syndrome and death, with an associated 8 per cent rise in mortality for every hour delay in the administration of appropriate therapy.
In the EU alone, sepsis claims 146,000 lives per year and is responsible for 7.6 billion euros health care costs each year. Current standard culture-based diagnosis of sepsis takes 2-7 days. Therefore, initial antibiotic treatment is usually relying on experimental screening and associated with significant mortality.
In addition, broad use of antibiotics has resulted in new problems, the emergence of antibiotic resistant microorganisms. One of the causes of antibiotic resistance is the empirical use of drugs.
In primary care, prescription of antibiotics is based on the clinical picture only, whereas in hospitals some information may be available on the pathogen by a gram stain for example or another rapid test.
“Targeted antibiotic prescription is hampered by the lack of rapid diagnostic procedures available to the clinician”, says Russom, who is coordinating the new project funded by Uppsala Bio. Russom and a team of scientists will develop a bench-top readout system and disposable lab-on-chip cartridges for detection of bacteria from whole blood.
The consortium includes academic partners from KTH and clinical partners from University of Antwerp and technology development company, LumiByte, from Netherlands.
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