Clinical Diagnostics

Clinical applications

PathoQuest is currently focusing on the clinical utilization of a blood-based version of the iDTECT® Dx test for immunocompromised patients with suspected infections with a specific interest in patients who are neutropenic. This includes:

  • patients with blood malignancies (e.g. leukemia) undergoing induction therapy or stem cell transplantation
  • cancer patients with solid tumors being treated with myelosuppressive drugs
  • solid organ transplant recipients on immunosuppressive drugs

PathoQuest is currently exporting the development of additional potential clinical applications for the Company’s blood-based test.

What other clinical applications does PathoQuest plan to develop the iDTECT® Dx Test for?

Microorganisms are responsible for infections not only in blood but also in other body tissues and fluids. Since the iDTECT® Dx test is based on the analysis of a pathogen’s DNA or RNA, its location in the body does not limit the ability the test’s ability to identify a causative organism. Since a medical need exists, PathoQuest is currently exploring the development of its sample processing method in order to accurately and efficiently enable the identification of pathogens from other biological sample types in addition to blood.s.

The Clinical Problem

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Current approach

Identifying pathogens – the problem associated with the current clinical approach

Patients admitted to hospitals with a fever of unknown origin require rapid and precise identification of microbes which are the cause of their infection. The conventional approach to identifying bacteria and viruses is the use of blood cultures – a method which takes 48 to 72 hours to produce results, requires frequent repetition during the hospital stay, and does not always readily identify infectious agents, especially in immunocompromised patients.

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Reliability

Why are blood cultures not as reliable for identifying microbes in immunocompromised patients?

  1. They are at increased risk of infection from low virulence (low infectivity) organisms which are difficult to culture.
  2. The frequent prophylactic use of antimicrobials in this group of patients may interfere with blood cultures.
  3. Polymicrobial infections (more than one organism) are often missed with this method.

Alternative testing approaches (e.g. PCR-based testing) are available, but these methods are targeted, meaning that they require the doctor to predetermine the list of potential causal pathogens to be tested.

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Consequences

What are the consequences of the limitations of current pathogen identification approaches?

Clinicians often empirically utilize broad-spectrum antibiotics or combinations of antimicrobial agents that are intended to treat as many pathogens as possible due to the failure or delay in the identification of a responsible pathogen with the current testing methods. Unfortunately, the use of non-targeted antibiotics is associated with a number of problems which include:

  • Ineffective treatment, especially if the infection is caused by a virus 
  • Opportunistic bacterial or fungal infections due to the broad-spectrum antibiotic killing off natural bacterial flora in the body that keeps other pathogenic organisms in check.
  • Ineffective antibiotic stewardship, increasing the risk of development of antibiotic resistance

 

The above contributes to suboptimal patient outcomes, prolonged hospital staystreatment-related complications, and finally an increased cost of care. Ineffective identification of pathogens, the inappropriate use of antibiotics, and the progressive development of antimicrobial resistance also put patients at risk following commonly performed elective surgical procedures such as prosthetic orthopedic surgery and when receiving cancer treatment.

Our solution

PathoQuest has developed an advanced new method to effectively identify microorganisms causing infections. This new approach combines 3 key components: next-generation sequencing (NGS) and metagenomics, a proprietary sample preparation process, and a curated database of genomic data. Unlike PCR testing, PathoQuest’s approach is non-targeted (unbiased), meaning that there is no need for the clinician to pre-select which pathogens should be looked for by the test.

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Let’s Start Something New

Welcome to PathoQuest!