Plasmonic PCR: Rapid Diagnostics through Plasmonics
Phase 1 Project
The outbreak of an infection in a hospital or agricultural/forest community can lead to severe consequences for the people and organizations affected. Point-of-care or point-of-infection diagnostics would provide the clinician, food inspector or agricultural worker with high-value genomic information relating to infection that can be used to make informed decisions over how to treat and contain the infection.
Dr. Mark Trifiro and his team at Montreal’s Jewish General Hospital has developed a Light and Nanotechnology-driven, Plasmonic PCR technology platform that provides near-instant infectious agent recognition by DNA diagnostics. This technology allows for the development of novel instrumentation, from small hand-held devices for field work to large screening instruments required in hospitals. The platform uses specially prepared “nano-heaters” to power an ultra-fast PCR reaction. The reaction can be monitored and managed with exquisite control. Thus an immediate infection “red-flag” is attainable with complete testing within minutes.
This rapid-testing method used in humans can rapidly identify the cause of an outbreak, affect infection management and treatment decisions, lower morbidity and mortality and reduce health services costs such as length of hospital stay and medication costs. In agriculture, fisheries and forestry, all areas of importance for the Canadian economy, the testing will ease the high cost of infections on industries by enabling early action. The team will examine every possible detail controlling the new rapid testing method to ensure high reliability and broad application to ensure the technology delivers on its promise of ultra-fast point-of-care microbial diagnostics.