Nanotechnology for the diagnosis of parasitic infections.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Infectious diseases can trigger a large range of clinical symptoms in humans and animals. Most of them are nonspecific signs, especially in their earlier stages, usually rendering differential diagnosis difficult. Many infections also result in cutaneous manifestations, which may present as isolated symptoms as a result of a more complex, or even serious, systemic disorder. In some cases, cutaneous signs may allow for the generation of an accurate diagnosis of disease by facile and direct examination. However, in many cases, the need for additional diagnostic tools and techniques are required. Repeated histopathological analysis of multiple skin samples in cases of equivocal diagnosis leads to significant cost and discomfort to the patient, despite the frequent reliance on clinical findings for diagnosis in dermatology [1]. As such, rapid and specific diagnosis of skin and soft tissues infections require improved diagnostic methods and tools. Ideally, these should be able to provide simple, cost-effective, rapid, specific and sensitive detection, identification and quantification of the etiologic agent. A rapid and accurate diagnosis of infection not only allows prompt initiation of therapy, but also, when resistant strains are detected, allows for a change of therapeutic regimen tailored to the patient’s pathogen profile. In addition, quantitative methods of detection, able to accurately determine the effective burden of a microorganism in host tissues, may constitute an important means to predict disease progression and prognosis. Aesthetic concerns associated with current diagnostic methods must also be taken into account then managing infections. Some diagnostic techniques such as punch and excisional biopsies may result in considerable disfigurement and scarring. New diagnostic approaches based on biosensor technology, especially involving nanotechnological structures, have been developed in all stages of the research cycle from proof-of-concept, to prototype, to early clinical trials. Apart from technical and commercial constraints in developed countries, shifting from lab-based molecular analysis to point-of-care testing faces many ethical concerns and obstacles. Although this is less so for the diagnosis of infectious than genetic diseases [2]. Nanotechnology represents a promising approach to develop and utilize novel and improved tests to diagnose dermatological infections.
Original languageUnknown
Title of host publicationNanotechnology in Dermatology.
Place of PublicationNY, USA
PublisherSpringer
Pages209-219
ISBN (Print)978-1-4614-5034-4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

Cite this

Teles, F. S. R. R., Martins, M. D. L. M., Vieira, M. R., & Fonseca, L. (2013). Nanotechnology for the diagnosis of parasitic infections. In Nanotechnology in Dermatology. (pp. 209-219). NY, USA: Springer.