Acutelines and Inflammatix are developing a smart tool to facilitate recognition of sepsis and support clinical decisions in the early phase of the disease. Early recognition of sepsis is hard but can make a significant impact on patient outcomes.
The importance of early recognition
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, annually, 50 million patients were diagnosed with sepsis. The pandemic has led to a steep increase in these numbers. Early recognition of infections and accurate differentiation between viral and bacterial etiology is vital to select effective therapy. On the one hand, each hour of delayed antibiotic treatment introduces additional risk for bacterial infection patients. On the other hand, rampant overuse of antibiotics drives the development of antimicrobial-resistant (AMR) bacteria, risking the effectiveness of current antibiotics.
Recent estimates indicate nearly 5 million deaths associated with AMR. Novel precision diagnostic approaches can support balancing the tightrope between overtreating the uninfected and missing the infected patients, thereby impacting society by improving patient outcomes and reducing the socioeconomic burden of sepsis and AMR.
Improving the future of sepsis
The project will approach this diagnostic dilemma by combining health records and biological information with the goal to deliver better clinical decision support for patients with suspected sepsis visiting the emergency department. Blood samples will be collected, and the expressions of genes associated with the immune response to infection will be measured. These biological signals along with clinical record data collected during the patient encounter will be used to derive diagnostic algorithms that can better inform on the presence, type and severity of infection. These signatures will be validated in prospective studies and are planned to be used by physicians to better recognize early sepsis, decide whom to admit and when to administer antibiotics.
Data-biobank Acutelines ensures availability and standardized processing of data and biomaterials from more than five thousand samples from over one thousandpatients. Inflammatix brings expertise in developing machine learning-based algorithms and building rapid point-of-care-based gene expression diagnostics into the collaboration.
Integrating health data in a clinically actionable manner
"Our collaboration will allow us to leverage our expertise in data-banking and research to better understand the dynamics of sepsis. Inflammatix's proficiency in machine learning and rapid gene expression diagnostics will greatly enhance our efforts to develop a smart, early diagnosis system," says Dr. Hjalmar Bouma, project leader of Acutelines. Dr. Timothy Sweeney, CEO and co-founder of Inflammatix, added, "Our joint efforts with Acutelines accelerates our mission to further improve sepsis diagnosis by integrating health record data with our biological signature in a clinically actionable manner. "
The project is supported by Health Holland through a public-private partnership allowance. This support underscores a shared commitment to advancing healthcare and improving patient outcomes. The Acutelines-Inflammatix partnership marks a significant step forward in early sepsis diagnosis, ultimately paving the way towards precision medicine and saving lives.