Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Life-saving blood test for fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries

Date:
March 7, 2011
Source:
University of Nevada, Reno
Summary:
A new, rapid blood test that could lead to early diagnosis and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people stricken with fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, is getting closer to market with a recent collaboration of researchers.

This is Tom Kozel, professor of microbiology in the University of Nevada School of Medicine, in one of his labs in the University's Center for Molecular Medicine. Kozel and the University have signed a licensing agreement with Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma to develop a point-of-care product that will allow rapid in-the-field diagnosis of the fungal meningitis Cryptococcosis, which kills millions of AIDS patients in developing countries.
Credit: Photo by Mike Wolterbeek, University of Nevada, Reno.

A new, rapid blood test that could lead to early diagnosis and potentially save the lives of hundreds of thousands of people stricken with fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, is getting closer to market with a recent collaboration between the University of Nevada, Reno and Immuno-Mycologics (IMMY) in Oklahoma.

Related Articles


"The ability to quickly identify yeast infection in patients is expected to help in significantly reducing cryptococcal meningitis deaths in resource-limited countries such as those in sub-Saharan Africa," said Tom Kozel, professor of microbiology at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. "Cryptococcosis is a rare form of meningitis among otherwise healthy individuals, but an estimated 600,000 lives are lost to this infection each year in patients with AIDS. Many of these lives could be saved through early diagnosis."

If successful, the new field test to detect cryptococcal antigen will use a drop of blood from a finger-stick or a urine sample to immediately identify the presence of the disease so treatment can begin instantly, rather than having to wait for results to be processed at a lab. The point-of-care product is the result of a collaboration between Kozel and Sean Bauman, president and CEO of IMMY. The product is being developed under a licensing agreement established through the University's Technology Transfer Office and IMMY.

"We developed several antibodies to the fungus with the support of research funded by the National Institutes of Health," Kozel said. "IMMY needed an antibody that worked well with their idea for this new noninvasive procedure to introduce in developing countries where deaths are skyrocketing from HIV-related cryptococcal meningitis. We found fairly quickly that one of ours works very well."

Kozel developed the antibody used for the Cryptococcus test in his lab at the University of Nevada, Reno. Bauman commercialized the technology to make it available at low cost to patients in developing countries through IMMY, a market leader in diagnostics for fungal infections.

"One of the stipulations in our agreement for the licensing of the product with IMMY is to have this crucial test available at low cost," Ryan Heck, director of the University's Technology Transfer Office, said. "Dr. Bauman had already begun to make this happen on several avenues."

IMMY is using the antibody now for testing in Africa, but only through the traditional, time-consuming and expensive methods of venipuncture (blood draw) or spinal tap for cerebrospinal fluid. The team is working to get additional funding for studies needed to further develop and validate the new point-of-care product to make it readily available to patients.

We have submitted a version of the test that is designed for use with serum from a venipuncture or cerebrospinal fluid to the FDA for approval. We have received the CE mark, which allows sales in EU countries and many developing world countries," Bauman said. "We are already manufacturing and distributing the diagnostic for this use."

Modification of the test to a point-of-care format and clinical validation will be a major step toward meeting the World Health Organization's Global Access health requirements.

"With the point-of-care product, a health-care provider can give the test, observe the results and administer the first dose of oral medication, all within a few minutes," Kozel, who has been conducting AIDS research for more than 25 years, said. "Studies have shown early identification and treatment are essential to beat the disease; a late diagnosis means antifungal therapy will likely fail in resource-limited countries. Most patients in that setting are not diagnosed until they are very sick, and then it's too late."

Antifungals used to treat cryptococcosis are available for free or at low cost in regions such as sub-Saharan Africa. However, early diagnosis is crucial for successful drug therapy. Bauman saw this need and the staggering numbers of preventable deaths occurring in third-world countries, particularly in Africa, and decided to do something about it.

"As many as one in 10 AIDS patients in countries with limited infrastructure or resources may develop cryptococcal meningitis," Kozel said. "If we can diagnose early and begin treatment, we can save an amazing number of lives."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nevada, Reno. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nevada, Reno. "Life-saving blood test for fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 March 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304092117.htm>.
University of Nevada, Reno. (2011, March 7). Life-saving blood test for fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304092117.htm
University of Nevada, Reno. "Life-saving blood test for fungal meningitis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/03/110304092117.htm (accessed November 20, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

UN Says It Will Scale Up Its Ebola Response

AFP (Nov. 20, 2014) UN Resident Coordinator David McLachlan-Karr and WHO representative in the country Daniel Kertesz updated the media on the UN Ebola response on Wednesday. Duration: 00:51 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Takata Offers "sincerest Condolences" To Victims of Malfunctioning Airbag

Reuters - US Online Video (Nov. 20, 2014) U.S. Congress hears from a victim and company officials as it holds a hearing on the safety of Takata airbags after reports of injuries. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Obesity Costs Almost As Much As War And Terrorism

Newsy (Nov. 20, 2014) The newest estimate of the cost of obesity is pretty jarring — $2 trillion. But how did researchers get to that number? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

Ebola Crisis Affecting US Adoptions

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Sanborn family had hoped they'd be able to bring home their 5-year-old adopted son from Liberia by now. But Ebola has forced them to wait. The boy is just one of thousands of orphans in West Africa who've been impacted by the deadly virus. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins