Thanks to your donations, Leeds Hospitals Charity has been able to fund a new machine costing over £12,000 for the Microbiology team based at LGI.  

 The kit, known as an ‘automated low through put DNA extractor’, is now helping to diagnose bacterial infections such as TB and infective endocarditis (infection of the inside of the heart) faster than the hospital has ever been able to before.   

Viruses (such as COVID-19) are processed by other equipment at the hospital, but having the new extractor has helped to spread out the work, making sure there are no long queues and that the team can work flexibly if there are any urgent cases.  

Principal Clinical Scientist Dr Deborah Gascoyne-Binzi has been leading on the project: “The machine has been brilliant. It has surpassed our expectations.   

“Previously, using DNA from some types of samples was a slow process that we had to do manually. It required staff to sit at the bench for hours at a time – but the new extractor has reduced this hands-on time from over three hours to less than half an hour.   

“This helps us to speed up diagnosis, meaning a patient’s antibiotics can be changed more quickly to a new or better treatment. It also helps us to multi-task, making sure the team can do other testing or laboratory tasks at the same time.”  

More information means better diagnosis and treatment – and the new DNA extractor allows us to work with the smallest of blood samples from our tiniest patients. The process can be used to identify whether a bug may be resistant to some drugs - this saves much needed treatment time for patients and is particularly useful for patients for conditions such as tuberculosis (TB). The new kit will also help to speed up diagnosis of conditions that can be very difficult to diagnose like infective endocarditis or implant infections (such as knees and hips). 

Deborah said: “It’s really helpful for us to confirm that we are treating the correct bacteria with the correct drug as this reduces the chance of a treatment failing or a treatment needing to be repeated.  

“The new extractor opens up possibilities to work with new research groups, but most of all, the level of information and time saved has really made a huge difference in getting straight to the problem as quickly as possible. Thank you for your support.”