The NHSA began working with Oxford Nanopore Technologies as the company was interested in looking at clinical applications of their MinION device. This is a portable, real time, long read and low cost device that has opened up DNA sequencing to researchers who would never normally have access to this kind of technology.
The NHSA was able to get clinical pathologists and researchers across the North to meet with the company and discuss this technology in more depth. This include the University of Liverpool Wolfson Centre for Personalised Medicine, Newcastle University, Sheffield Teaching Hospitals, Lancashire Teaching Hospitals Teaching Trust and Hull & East Yorkshire Teaching Hospital.
All these centres agreed that its clinical use would be particularly useful in helping provide rapid identification of infectious agents and identify genes involved in AMR from clinical samples.
Initially, the test needed to be optimised for use on clinical samples and the University of Liverpool was successful at being awarded a grant from the Medical Research Council to support the pilot work.
With coordinating support from the NHSA, the other four centres are providing thoughts and insight on which clinical samples and bacterial strains to look at; the overall aim of which will be to scale up and implement use of the technology across the five centres and eventually into standard NHS practice to fight anti-microbial resistance.