Archive for ‘malaria’

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

DiscoGnosis project aims to develop rapid malaria test

An estimated 500 million people become infected with malaria each year. The disease is often lethal – particularly in tropical developing countries with insufficient health care services. The infected suffer from a high fever. As this is also the case with other germs, however, it is important to conduct a rapid and precise analysis to determine the cause of the disease for a successful therapy. A team of researchers aims to develop a rapid test of this kind within the context of the project DiscoGnosis. Launched in November 2012, the project will receive three million euros in funding from the European Union and is being coordinated by the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) of the University of Freiburg.

DiscoGnosis stands for “disc-shaped point-of-care platform for infectious disease diagnosis” – a device that looks similar to a DVD player. Its purpose will be to purify patients’ blood samples and detect all relevant fever-causing germs in a single step. The institutions responsible for the project want to develop an inexpensive method for determining whether a person with fever has malaria or not. Studies have shown that 30 to 40 percent of patients being treated for malaria are actually suffering from typhus or dengue fever.

Each disc will be intended for one use only and will be capable of making a reliable diagnosis automatically with the help of integrated biochemical analytical processes. The innovation thus has the potential to bring modern diagnostics to countries and regions with poor infrastructure and improve the health care of entire populations. Ultimately, it could serve as a shield to stop the spread of malaria in Europe, which is currently being exacerbated by climate change.

Source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121122/DiscoGnosis-project-aims-to-develop-rapid-malaria-test.aspx

Full story

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine creates International Diagnostics Centre

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine creates International Diagnostics Centre

Today sees the launch of the International Diagnostics Centre (IDC), a global research collaboration hub, created at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine to undertake innovative research on the development and deployment of new diagnostic tests that enable patients to be diagnosed faster, more accurately and cost effectively.

Important recent advances in diagnostics, especially in point-of-care (POC) diagnostic tests

The first of its kind in Europe, the IDC will be a revolutionary focal point, forum and centre for learning, addressing the diagnostics priorities and challenges of today. With collaborators in more than 100 countries in Africa, Asia and South America, the centre is uniquely placed to facilitate and accelerate access to quality assured diagnostics in the developing world and improve patient care and to inform disease control strategies.

for malaria, HIV, syphilis and other infectious diseases can greatly improve the quality of clinical care for those without access to laboratory tests. The centre’s work will help countries meet Millennium Development Goals and ultimately save lives and strengthen health systems.

Pioneering work to assess the cost-effectiveness and utility of non-laboratory based rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) for malaria.

A recent study with collaborators in Malawi on self-testing for HIV which established an important foundation for the introduction of self-testing in high HIV prevalent populations.

Recent research into new rapid diagnostic tests for syphilis which resulted in 100% of the study countries changing policy and recommending prenatal rapid test screening, saving thousands of lives.

Diagnostics are not prioritised in global health, as funding has been largely focused on the development and delivery of therapeutic interventions and vaccines. The lack of quality standards in the evaluation and regulation of diagnostics has also caused a proliferation of low-quality diagnostic tests to be sold and used without evidence of effectiveness, discouraging companies with good quality tests to compete in the same market.

The launch of the IDC brings together a critical mass of researchers committed to using multi-disciplinary and integrated approaches to address these challenges. By leading cutting-edge research and development of accessible quality-assured diagnostics, the centre will advocate for diagnostics in global health. It will play a pivotal role in ensuring this is the ‘Decade of Diagnostics’.

Rosanna Peeling, Professor and Chair of Diagnostics Research at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, said: “A new generation of diagnostic tests could save millions of people from deadly diseases like AIDS and TB in the next few years. I am delighted to launch the International Diagnostics Centre today to give a new impetus to our work and create a critical mass of expertise to address inequity of access to diagnostics, guide evidence based management of patients and strengthen health systems.”

source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20121108/London-School-of-Hygiene-Tropical-Medicine-creates-International-Diagnostics-Centre.aspx

Full story

Lasker Awards Honor Advances in Protein-Folding, Malaria Treatment

Lasker Awards Honor Advances in Protein-Folding, Malaria Treatment

Lasker Awards Honor Advances in Protein-Folding, Malaria Treatment

Michael Sheetz, James Spudich and Ronald Vale for discoveries concerning cytoskeletal motor proteins, machines that move cargoes within cells, contract muscles, and enable cell movements.

Roy Calne and Thomas Starzl for the development of liver transplantation, which has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease.

Donald Brown and Thomas Maniatis for exceptional leadership and citizenship in biomedical science, exemplified by fundamental discoveries concerning the nature of genes, by selfless commitment to young scientists, and by disseminating revolutionary technologies to the scientific community.

New York, Sept. 10, 2012 — The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, which for 67 years has championed the greatest advances in medical research, announced today the winners of the 2012 Lasker Awards: Michael Sheetz, James Spudich and Ronald Vale for basic medical research, Roy Calne and Thomas E. Starzl for clinical research, and Donald D. Brown and Thomas Maniatis for special achievement. The Lasker Awards — considered one of the most respected science prizes in the world — honor visionaries whose insight and perseverance have led to dramatic advances that will prevent disease and prolong life.

The Lasker Awards, which carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category, will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, September 21 in New York City. Since 1945, the Lasker Awards program has recognized the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants who have made major progress in understanding, diagnosing, treating, curing, and preventing human disease worldwide.

“The Lasker Awards celebrate biomedical research that has had a transformative effect on the practice of medicine, science, and the lives and health of people all over the world,” said Alfred Sommer, Chair of the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “This year’s awards are no exception, honoring fundamental biological discoveries, life-saving surgical techniques and scientific statesmanship of the highest order.”

Sheetz (Columbia University, New York), Spudich (Stanford University School of Medicine, Palo Alto, California), and Vale (University of California, San Francisco) will receive the 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discovering machine-like cytoskeletal motor proteins that transport cargoes within cells. Calne (University of Cambridge, England) and Starzl (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) will receive the 2012 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for developing life-saving liver transplantation techniques. Brown (Carnegie Institution for Science, Baltimore) and Maniatis (Columbia University, New York) will receive the Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for making fundamental discoveries about the nature of genes while fostering the careers of young scientists and spreading cutting-edge technologies throughout the global scientific community.

“The intellectual rigor and perseverance exhibited by this year’s laureates greatly extended the medical research community’s knowledge of cell biology, led to new surgical techniques that prevented many deaths, and provided a deeper understanding of genetics across generations of scientists worldwide,” said Maria Freire, President of the Lasker Foundation. “With determination and verve, they boldly pursued new paths of inquiry that have benefited all mankind.”

“In granting the Basic and Clinical awards, the Lasker Foundation recognizes the work of daring and determined scientists who revealed the awe-inspiring mechanics of the tiny motor proteins that drive the cellular world and it honors the work of surgeon-scientists who saved tens-of-thousands of lives by overcoming the once insurmountable obstacles of liver transplantation,” said Joseph L. Goldstein, Chair of the Lasker Medical Research Awards Jury.

“In recognizing Donald Brown and Thomas Maniatis, the Foundation honors two scientists who through their visionary experimentation and technical virtuosity — along with their deep love of science and unselfish collegial enthusiasm — played crucial roles in establishing modern molecular biology as we know it today,” Goldstein said.

Michael Sheetz, James Spudich, and Ronald Vale for Discoveries Concerning Motor Proteins

The 2012 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award honors Michael Sheetz, 65, James Spudich, 70, and Ronald Vale, 53, for opening up the study of cytoskeletal motor proteins, whose activities are essential for numerous processes, such as muscle contraction, intracellular movement, and cell locomotion. The trio’s discoveries have spurred research on new treatments aimed at cardiac problems, neurological disorders, and cancer.

Movements within cells have intrigued scientists for centuries. In 1774, microscopist Bonaventura Corti showed that even tiny units of life bustle with movement when he observed “torrents” of fluid inside plant cells. By the mid-1900s, researchers witnessed chromosome separation during cell division and discovered that material travels long distances within nerve cells. Studies of biological movement zeroed in on muscle contraction, an activity that relies on the proteins actin and myosin. But in the latter half of the last century, investigators found themselves stymied because they lacked the experimental techniques needed to piece together the complex mechanisms underlying cellular movement.

By developing systems that allow scientists to reconstitute motility from its constituent parts in the laboratory, Sheetz, Spudich, and Vale established ways to study molecular motors in detail. These accomplishments provided powerful tools that investigators worldwide began using to probe the process of intracellular and muscular movement. Sheetz, Spudich, and Vale harnessed the assays they invented to discover the motor protein kinesin and unveiled key aspects of the process by which molecular engines convert chemical energy into mechanical work.

Today we know that humans have dozens of myosins and kinesins. The proteins differ in their mechanistic details, but they share characteristics that provoke movement. The miniscule motors underlie numerous vital processes and hold promise as therapeutic targets. For example, defects in cardiac myosin can produce a leading cause of death in young athletes called hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and the landmark achievements of Vale, Spudich, and Sheetz are driving drug-discovery efforts aimed at cardiac problems as well as cancer. Through their vision, ingenuity, and persistence, Sheetz, Spudich and Vale opened the study of molecular motors and illuminated crucial features of a fundamental biological process.

Roy Calne and Thomas E. Starzl Honored for Liver Transplantation

The 2012 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award honors Roy Calne, 81, and Thomas E. Starzl, 86, for developing liver transplantation, an intervention that has restored normal life to thousands of patients with end-stage liver disease. Through their systematic and relentless efforts, Calne and Starzl created a medical procedure that most physicians dismissed as a dream. Some of Starzl’s and Calne’s early patients — originally diagnosed with untreatable and lethal diseases — are still thriving today, decades after their surgeries.

As Starzl’s and Calne’s medical careers were getting under way in the late 1950s, serious liver diseases were fatal, and treatment prospects looked bleak. The idea of transplanting any organ from one person to another seemed foolish to most experts. Rejection — the process by which a body’s immune system attacks unfamiliar tissue — posed a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. In terms of surgical technique, the liver presents a particular daunting challenge given its mass of wormlike vessels in which a tiny nick can trigger massive blood loss.

Despite these barriers, the researchers persevered. Through their independent and complementary efforts, Starzl and Calne reached their goal. In 1983, a conference convened by the U.S. Surgeon General concluded that liver transplantation had progressed past “experimental procedure” status into a “clinical service.” The medical community finally accepted the procedure, which centers worldwide rushed to offer.

Today, liver transplantation has taken hold across the world, and some patients even survive long term without medication. Those benefitting include adults who have sustained liver scarring — or cirrhosis — from hepatitis C infection and children who have biliary atresia in which the bile duct between the liver and the small intestine is blocked or absent. More than half of the liver-transplant patients who underwent surgery in 1998 were alive a decade later, and in 2009, almost 50,000 Americans carried a transplanted liver. Calne and Starzl persevered on a bold course against a backdrop of doubt. By following glints of hope, they have brought new life to tens-of-thousands of individuals.

Donald D. Brown and Tom Maniatis for Creating the Tools Enabling Modern Molecular Biology and Showing Exceptional Leadership and Citizenship in Biomedical Science

The Lasker~Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science honors Donald D. Brown, 80, and Tom Maniatis, 69, for numerous discoveries concerning the nature of genes and for exceptional leadership and citizenship in biomedicine. These two visionaries have brought not only seminal findings but also novel experimental techniques to the field of genetics. In addition, each one has gone to extraordinary efforts to support the research enterprise. Their willingness to follow their curiosity, share findings, and support fellow scientists has significantly enhanced medical science.

Brown started blazing trails in the nascent field of developmental genetics during the mid-1950s by studying frog embryos. He figured out the biological function of an organelle called the nucleolus, co-discovered a process called gene amplification, which later led to an understanding of runaway growth of drug-resistant cancer cells, and made key observations about how cells control gene activity. Brown’s work help paved the way toward the recombinant DNA era, at which point, Maniatis harnessed and applied the new tools to create a set of extraordinarily powerful techniques that have driven key advances in molecular biology — and enabled him to make numerous landmark discoveries.

Beyond their remarkable breakthroughs, Brown and Maniatis advanced the field of genetic study through their collegial approach to research and commitment to the scientific enterprise. Brown founded and led the Life Sciences Research Foundation (LSRF), an inventive partnership that began with his idea that pharmaceutical companies would want to support the academic research that made their drug-discovery efforts possible. LSRF has now provided prestigious postdoctoral fellowships to promising investigators for 30 years. Maniatis, building on his own pioneering work, created the quintessential Molecular Cloning manual and thus spread revolutionary technologies into a multitude of laboratories across the world. Through their relentless pursuit of the questions that fascinated them and their willingness to help their peers as well as students, they have achieved success and have set a high of exemplary behavior for members of the biomedical research community.

Additional information:

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation fosters the prevention and treatment of disease and disabilities by honoring excellence in basic and clinical science, by educating the public, and by advocating for support of medical research. Founded in 1942, the Lasker Foundation presents the prestigious Lasker Awards, which recognize the world’s leaders in basic and clinical medical research, and individuals with outstanding public service. For much of the 20th Century, the Foundation was led by Mary Lasker, who was America’s most prominent citizen-activist for public investment in medical research. She is widely credited with motivating the White House and the Congress to greatly expand federal funding for medical research, particularly through the National Institutes of Health.

About the Lasker Awards: The Lasker Awards are among the most respected science prizes in the world. Recipients of the Lasker Medical Research Awards are selected by a distinguished international jury chaired by Joseph L. Goldstein, recipient of the 1985 Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Lasker Laureates receive a citation highlighting their achievements and an inscribed statuette of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the Lasker Foundation’s traditional symbol representing humanity’s victory over disease, disability, and death. Eighty-one Lasker laureates have received the Nobel Prize, including 29 in the past two decades. More details on the Lasker Award recipients, the full citations for each award category, video interviews and photos of the awardees, and additional information on the foundation are available at www.laskerfoundation.org.

Since 1945 the Lasker Awards have honored those whose insights have led to disease prevention and prolongation of life. Associated with an honorarium of $250,000, seventy eight Lasker Laureates have gone on to win the Nobel Prize.

This year, the Basic Medical Research award went to Franz-Ulrich Hartl (Max Planck Institute) and Arthur L. Horwich (Yale) for their work in protein folding. Specifically, they were involved in work with chaperonins and the cage-like mechanism by which proteins are folded and unfolded by other proteins. Alzheimer’s disease, Huntington’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis are thought to have abnormal protein aggregation as an etiology, so adjusting the activity of these “chaperones” may play a role in future therapies for these disorders.

The Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award went to Tu Yoyou for the discovery of artemisinin, a malaria drug that has saved millions of lives. The World Health Organization has been crusading against malaria most ambitiously since the 1950?s, but the effort has been frustrated by chloroquine-resistant parasites. In a fascinating story involving covert Chinese government operations and ancient folk remedies, Tu Yoyou found a reference in a 2000-year old text to an herb that could treat malaria. They extracted the active component and named it Qinghaosu (commonly called artemisinin in the West), and this substance has proven to be remarkably effective against many different types of malaria, saving countless lives.

These awards represent an interesting mix of modern scientific analysis and application of ancient principles, all for the common good. See the link below for the full details of these inspiring scientists’ work.

Source : http://www.laskerfoundation.org/media/index.htm

Full story

Scientists Identify “Exported” Proteins in Malaria

Scientists Identify “Exported” Proteins in Malaria

Scientists Identify “Exported” Proteins in Malaria

Research Identifies Malaria Proteins that Remodel Red Blood Cells

After a malaria parasite invades a red blood cell, it sends a crew of proteins inside to do some major remodeling.

But this rehab job isn’t meant to refinish the floors. The proteins gut the red blood cell, transforming it from a vital oxygen delivery system into a nest for new parasites. These renovations are what make malaria so dangerous: they cause infected red blood cells to harden and stick inside blood vessels. When this happens in the brain or in the placenta of a pregnant woman, the results are deadly.

“What this paper has done is identify new proteins that are different from anything we’ve seen, that are absolutely essentially for different functions in the red blood cell.”

Alan Cowman

That’s why HHMI international scholar Alan Cowman and his colleagues set out to understand the proteins that oversee this destructive remodeling. Cowman, from the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia, and his colleagues present the first systematic examination of remodeling proteins from the most deadly species of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum, in a paper published online July 11, 2008, in the journal Cell. Brendan Crabb, another HHMI international scholar at the institute, is a co-author of the paper.

“What this paper has done is identify new proteins that are different from anything we’ve seen, that are absolutely essentially for different functions” in the red blood cell, Cowman said.

The researchers have figured out the roles of 56 proteins involved in this remodeling. This includes eight proteins that act like painters, putting down a sticky layer on the cell’s surface, and two more that act like carpenters, building knobs on the surface of the cells. They also identified several carpenter-like proteins that change the cell structure so it’s rigid.

Perhaps more important, they have found an additional 30 proteins that are essential to the parasite’s survival inside red blood cell. If the research team can understand what these proteins do, they may eventually be able to design a drug that could stop the parasite or make it less likely to kill.

Malaria parasites go through a series of steps on their way to causing human disease. They travel from a mosquito bite on the skin to the liver, where they hunker down and multiply. They then fan out into the bloodstream, where they invade red blood cells both in an attempt to evade the immune system and to remodel them for their own use. “This is key to the parasite’s survival in the host and the key to its pathogenesis,” Cowman said.

To identify the role of each protein involved in red blood cell remodeling, the research team had to create a parasite without the gene that creates it. This modified parasite is called a knockout. While red blood cell rehabilitation requires a work crew of as many as 400 proteins, Cowman’s team started their analysis with 200 of these, focusing on those that seemed unique or that had been linked to important roles before. This Cell paper describes the first 83 genes, many found only in P. falciparum.

The research has taken five years because identifying the function of genes in P. falciparum isn’t easy, Cowman explained. They have to knock out the genes one by one, then run a number of tests to find out what has changed about the parasite and the red blood cell it attacked. “It’s very difficult, and no one has every attempted anything on this scale before,” he said.

What they found was worth the effort. The team has identified two proteins responsible for building porcupine-like protrusions on the walls of red blood cells; without these knobs, infected cells don’t stick to vessel walls. Several other proteins were responsible for turning a flexible red blood cell into a rigid sphere that clogs up small blood vessels. The most interesting of the newly-identified proteins may be those responsible for placing a glue-like adhesive called PfEMP1 on the outer walls of the red blood cell. This adhesive, called a virulence protein, is the primary factor that sticks these rehabbed red blood cells to blood vessel walls. Cowman expects they will find more proteins involved in creating PfEMP1.

But the biggest part of the researchers’ job is just beginning. They want to understand the role of the 30 proteins that the parasite can’t live without. These essential proteins will require a new set of approaches, because they have found that a traditional gene knockout kills the parasite. While this proves the proteins are essential, it doesn’t explain what they do inside the parasite. Cowman suspects that many may be involved in the parasite’s uptake of nutrients.

Eventually, the team hopes to identify targets for new treatments against malaria. Targeting these essential proteins might kill the parasite, which is a good solution. But even better might be targeting proteins that would weaken the malaria parasite rather than killing it. This would leave enough of the parasite to stimulate the immune system to respond, but prevent most of the major illness caused by the parasite. “In some ways, it would be better than actually killing it,” Cowman said.

This study is the first step toward figuring out what proteins to target in a vaccine. “The blood stage causes all of the infection and the disease. That is the reason we are trying to understand how it interacts with the host,” he said.

A major part of virulence for Plasmodium falciparum malaria infection, the most lethal parasitic disease of humans, results from increased rigidity and adhesiveness of infected host red cells. These changes are caused by parasite proteins exported to the erythrocyte using novel trafficking machinery assembled in the host cell. To understand these unique modifications, we used a large-scale gene knockout strategy combined with functional screens to identify proteins exported into parasite-infected erythrocytes and involved in remodeling these cells. Eight genes were identified encoding proteins required for export of the parasite adhesin PfEMP1 and assembly of knobs that function as physical platforms to anchor the adhesin. Additionally, we show that multiple proteins play a role in generating increased rigidity of infected erythrocytes. Collectively these proteins function as a pathogen secretion system, similar to bacteria and may provide targets for antivirulence based therapies to a disease responsible for millions of deaths annually.

After many years of exhaustive research, Professor Alan Cowman and colleagues from the Walter And Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research in Melbourne, Australia and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute identified previously unknown steps of how malaria parasites invade and remodel host erythrocytes. Their “systematic examination of remodeling proteins from the most deadly species of the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum” may lead to new therapeutic strategies against the disease.

Howard Hughes Medical Institute released the following statement:

Malaria parasites go through a series of steps on their way to causing human disease. They travel from a mosquito bite on the skin to the liver, where they hunker down and multiply. They then fan out into the bloodstream, where they invade red blood cells both in an attempt to evade the immune system and to remodel them for their own use. “This is key to the parasite’s survival in the host and the key to its pathogenesis,” Cowman said.

To identify the role of each protein involved in red blood cell remodeling, the research team had to create a parasite without the gene that creates it. This modified parasite is called a knockout. While red blood cell rehabilitation requires a work crew of as many as 400 proteins, Cowman’s team started their analysis with 200 of these, focusing on those that seemed unique or that had been linked to important roles before. This Cell paper describes the first 83 genes, many found only in P. falciparum.

The research has taken five years because identifying the function of genes in P. falciparum isn’t easy, Cowman explained. They have to knock out the genes one by one, then run a number of tests to find out what has changed about the parasite and the red blood cell it attacked. “It’s very difficult, and no one has every attempted anything on this scale before,” he said.

What they found was worth the effort. The team has identified two proteins responsible for building porcupine-like protrusions on the walls of red blood cells; without these knobs, infected cells don’t stick to vessel walls. Several other proteins were responsible for turning a flexible red blood cell into a rigid sphere that clogs up small blood vessels. The most interesting of the newly-identified proteins may be those responsible for placing a glue-like adhesive called PfEMP1 on the outer walls of the red blood cell. This adhesive, called a virulence protein, is the primary factor that sticks these rehabbed red blood cells to blood vessel walls. Cowman expects they will find more proteins involved in creating PfEMP1.

Source : http://www.hhmi.org/news/20080709cowman.html

Full story

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

A pioneering mobile device using cutting-edge nanotechnology to rapidly detect malaria infection and drug resistance could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated.

Around 800,000 people die from malaria each year after being bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites. Signs that the parasite is developing resistance to the most powerful anti-malarial drugs in south-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa mean scientists are working to prevent the drugs becoming ineffective.

The €5.2million (£4million) Nanomal project – launched today – is planning to provide an affordable hand-held diagnostic device to swiftly detect malaria infection and parasites’ drug resistance. It will allow healthcare workers in remote rural areas to deliver effective drug treatments to counter resistance more quickly, potentially saving lives.

The device – the size and shape of a mobile phone – will use a range of latest proven nanotechnologies to rapidly analyse the parasite DNA from a blood sample. It will then provide a malaria diagnosis and comprehensive screening for drug susceptibility in less than 20 minutes, while the patient waits. With immediately available information about the species of parasite and its potential for drug resistance, a course of treatment personally tailored to counter resistance can be given.

Currently for malaria diagnosis, blood samples are sent to a central referral laboratory for drug resistance analysis, requiring time as well as specialised and expensive tests by skilled scientists. Additionally, confirmation of malaria is often not available where patients present with fever. Very often, drug treatments are prescribed before the diagnosis and drug resistance are confirmed, and may not be effective. Being able to treat effectively and immediately will prevent severe illness and save lives.

The Nanomal consortium is being led by St George’s, University of London, which is working with UK handheld diagnostics and DNA sequencing specialist QuantuMDx Group and teams at the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It was set up in response to increasing signs that the malaria parasite is mutating to resist the most powerful class of anti-malaria drugs, artemisinins. The European Commission has awarded €4million (£3.1million) to the project.

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

QuantuMDx’s CEO Elaine Warburton said: “Placing a full malaria screen with drug resistance status in the palm of a health professional’s hand will allow instant prescribing of the most effective anti-malaria medication for that patient. Nanomal’s rapid, low-cost test will further support the global health challenge to eradicate malaria.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Clinical trials of the device are expected to begin within three years, after which it will be brought to market. The technology could be adapted afterwards for use with other infectious diseases.

Nanomal is developing a low cost device to address a real market need for full malaria diagnosis from sample to result in under 15 minutes at the patient’s side. We’re taking complex DNA analysis and simplifying it for use by health workers from all types of backgrounds and healthcare environments. By integrating diagnostics with cell phone technology we’re also able to support health workers in not only diagnosing and prescribing the right anti-malarial but also to support educating their patients at the time of consultation and remotely in their homes and at work.

OUR TECHNOLOGIES

DNA Extraction and PCR

DNA extraction

QuantuMDx has created a simple solution for on-chip DNA extraction and PCR that is capable of performing the lysis and extraction of malaria DNA from a pinprick of blood and then amplifying up the malaria DNA regions of interest, via an on-chip thermal cycler, ready for detection. This process, which normally takes a number of hours in a regular laboratory, takes minutes with Nanomal technology.

Diagnostic biosensor

Diagnostic Biosensor

QuantuMDx’s novel nanowire based biosensor detects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires. This detection is based upon the DNA’s innate electrical charge which means there’s no fluorescence, no optics and no light. This allows Nanomal to miniaturise the processes of a complex laboratory into a handheld which will be the first time this has been achieved. The biosensor then converts the electrical signal straight into binary code, the universal language of computers. As we use standard CMOS produced computer chips, the Consortium is able to bring down the cost of complex malaria diagnostics into the low price point of routine pathology testing and, moreover, deliver this testing at the patient’s side.

Genomic sequencing biosensor

Thermal Reactor

Nanomal will also be using QuantuMDx’s proprietary genomic sequencing biosensor to sequence areas of the malaria genome conferring drug resistance. The nanowires within the genomic sequencer have been arrayed and functionalized for long reads lengths as well as undertaking shotgun sequencing, vital for clinical utility and identifying emerging drug resistance in real time.

Malaria Assay

St George’s will be developing a far-reaching malaria assay to port onto the diagnostic platform which not only detects the malaria species but a wide range of genetic mutations which confer drug resistance within the malaria parasite. This definitive assay coupled with on-chip sequencing of parts of the malaria genome will provide the most comprehensive test ever for malaria diagnosis

QuantuMDx’s Q-POC™ point of care device is in development and will shortly deliver affordable, rapid and accurate medical diagnosis in less than 20 minutes, with the same accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) as any state of the art full laboratory, at the patient’s side, but at a fraction of the cost. Disposable diagnostic cartridges for companion diagnostics, TB, sexually transmitted diseases, genetic testing and cardiovascular disease are in development with our partners.

Q-POC™ is being developed for both developed and developing nations such as India, Africa and Brazil where there is a need for cheap POC testing that can be undertaken by health professionals or technicians in rural areas.

Researchers at St George’s, University of London today announced they’re leading a new project, called Nanomal, to develop a portable device that can detect the malarial parasite and identify its species within 15 minutes. malaria detector 2 Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria Down to Specific MutationsThe work is being conducted along with QuantuMDx Group, a diagnostics and DNA sequencing firm, and researchers from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The press release says that the device is “the size and shape of a mobile phone,” and does bear a striking resemblance to the new iPhone 5. It features QuantuMDx’s extraction and PCR technology, a biosensor that etects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires,” and the company’s own genomic sequencing biosensor. St. George’s is developing a malaria assay that will run on the device and will be able to help identify genetic mutations that relate to a strain’s drug resistance.

From St. George’s:

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Source : http://www.sgul.ac.uk/media/latest-news/nanotechnology-device-aims-to-prevent-malaria-deaths-through-rapid-diagnosis

Full story

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria – Down to Specific Mutations

 

Nanomal is developing a low cost device to address a real market need for full malaria diagnosis from sample to result in under 15 minutes at the patient’s side. We’re taking complex DNA analysis and simplifying it for use by health workers from all types of backgrounds and healthcare environments. By integrating diagnostics with cell phone technology we’re also able to support health workers in not only diagnosing and prescribing the right anti-malarial but also to support educating their patients at the time of consultation and remotely in their homes and at work.

QuantuMDx has created a simple solution for on-chip DNA extraction and PCR that is capable of performing the lysis and extraction of malaria DNA from a pinprick of blood and then amplifying up the malaria DNA regions of interest, via an on-chip thermal cycler, ready for detection. This process, which normally takes a number of hours in a regular laboratory, takes minutes with Nanomal technology.

QuantuMDx’s novel nanowire based biosensor detects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires. This detection is based upon the DNA’s innate electrical charge which means there’s no fluorescence, no optics and no light. This allows Nanomal to miniaturise the processes of a complex laboratory into a handheld which will be the first time this has been achieved. The biosensor then converts the electrical signal straight into binary code, the universal language of computers. As we use standard CMOS produced computer chips, the Consortium is able to bring down the cost of complex malaria diagnostics into the low price point of routine pathology testing and, moreover, deliver this testing at the patient’s side.

Nanomal will also be using QuantuMDx’s proprietary genomic sequencing biosensor to sequence areas of the malaria genome conferring drug resistance. The nanowires within the genomic sequencer have been arrayed and functionalized for long reads lengths as well as undertaking shotgun sequencing, vital for clinical utility and identifying emerging drug resistance in real time.

St George’s will be developing a far-reaching malaria assay to port onto the diagnostic platform which not only detects the malaria species but a wide range of genetic mutations which confer drug resistance within the malaria parasite. This definitive assay coupled with on-chip sequencing of parts of the malaria genome will provide the most comprehensive test ever for malaria diagnosis

A pioneering mobile device using cutting-edge nanotechnology to rapidly detect malaria infection and drug resistance could revolutionise how the disease is diagnosed and treated.

Around 800,000 people die from malaria each year after being bitten by mosquitoes infected with malaria parasites. Signs that the parasite is developing resistance to the most powerful anti-malarial drugs in south-east Asia and sub-Saharan Africa mean scientists are working to prevent the drugs becoming ineffective.

The €5.2million (£4million) Nanomal project – launched today – is planning to provide an affordable hand-held diagnostic device to swiftly detect malaria infection and parasites’ drug resistance. It will allow healthcare workers in remote rural areas to deliver effective drug treatments to counter resistance more quickly, potentially saving lives.

The device – the size and shape of a mobile phone – will use a range of latest proven nanotechnologies to rapidly analyse the parasite DNA from a blood sample. It will then provide a malaria diagnosis and comprehensive screening for drug susceptibility in less than 20 minutes, while the patient waits. With immediately available information about the species of parasite and its potential for drug resistance, a course of treatment personally tailored to counter resistance can be given.

Currently for malaria diagnosis, blood samples are sent to a central referral laboratory for drug resistance analysis, requiring time as well as specialised and expensive tests by skilled scientists. Additionally, confirmation of malaria is often not available where patients present with fever. Very often, drug treatments are prescribed before the diagnosis and drug resistance are confirmed, and may not be effective. Being able to treat effectively and immediately will prevent severe illness and save lives.

The Nanomal consortium is being led by St George’s, University of London, which is working with UK handheld diagnostics and DNA sequencing specialist QuantuMDx Group and teams at the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. It was set up in response to increasing signs that the malaria parasite is mutating to resist the most powerful class of anti-malaria drugs, artemisinins. The European Commission has awarded €4million (£3.1million) to the project.

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

QuantuMDx’s CEO Elaine Warburton said: “Placing a full malaria screen with drug resistance status in the palm of a health professional’s hand will allow instant prescribing of the most effective anti-malaria medication for that patient. Nanomal’s rapid, low-cost test will further support the global health challenge to eradicate malaria.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Clinical trials of the device are expected to begin within three years, after which it will be brought to market. The technology could be adapted afterwards for use with other infectious diseases.

QuantuMDx’s Q-POC™ point of care device is in development and will shortly deliver affordable, rapid and accurate medical diagnosis in less than 20 minutes, with the same accuracy (sensitivity and specificity) as any state of the art full laboratory, at the patient’s side, but at a fraction of the cost. Disposable diagnostic cartridges for companion diagnostics, TB, sexually transmitted diseases, genetic testing and cardiovascular disease are in development with our partners.

Q-POC™ is being developed for both developed and developing nations such as India, Africa and Brazil where there is a need for cheap POC testing that can be undertaken by health professionals or technicians in rural areas.

Researchers at St George’s, University of London today announced they’re leading a new project, called Nanomal, to develop a portable device that can detect the malarial parasite and identify its species within 15 minutes. malaria detector 2 Portable Device to Diagnose Malaria Down to Specific MutationsThe work is being conducted along with QuantuMDx Group, a diagnostics and DNA sequencing firm, and researchers from the University of Tuebingen in Germany and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.

The press release says that the device is “the size and shape of a mobile phone,” and does bear a striking resemblance to the new iPhone 5. It features QuantuMDx’s extraction and PCR technology, a biosensor that etects the binding of the regions of malaria DNA of interest to probes immobilized on the surface of the array of nanowires,” and the company’s own genomic sequencing biosensor. St. George’s is developing a malaria assay that will run on the device and will be able to help identify genetic mutations that relate to a strain’s drug resistance.

From St. George’s:

Nanomal lead Professor Sanjeev Krishna, from St George’s, said: “Recent research suggests there’s a real danger that artemisinins could eventually become obsolete, in the same way as other anti-malarials. New drug treatments take many years to develop, so the quickest and cheapest alternative is to optimise the use of current drugs. The huge advances in technology are now giving us a tremendous opportunity to do that and to avoid people falling seriously ill or dying unnecessarily.”

The handheld device will take a finger prick of blood, extract the malarial DNA and then detect and sequence the specific mutations linked to drug resistance, using a nanowire biosensor. The chip electrically detects the DNA sequences and converts them directly into binary code, the universal language of computers. The binary code can then be readily analysed and even shared, via wireless or mobile networks, with scientists for real-time monitoring of disease patterns.

The device should provide the same quality of result as a referral laboratory, at a fraction of the time and cost. Each device could cost about the price of a smart phone initially, but may be issued for free in developing countries. A single-test cartridge will be around €13 (£10) initially, but the aim is to reduce this cost to ensure affordability in resource-limited settings.

In addition to improving immediate patient outcomes, the project will allow the researchers to build a better picture of levels of drug resistance in stricken areas. It will also give them information on population impacts of anti-malarial interventions.

Source : http://www.sgul.ac.uk/media/latest-news/nanotechnology-device-aims-to-prevent-malaria-deaths-through-rapid-diagnosis

Full story

Mobile phone text messaging service allows health workers to track malaria cases in Cambodia

Mobile phone text messaging service allows health workers to track malaria cases in Cambodia

A new pilot project in Cambodia is allowing more than 3,000 volunteer health workers to use a special mobile phone text messaging service to report new cases of malaria, in addition to providing no-cost testing and treatment “in remote parts of the impoverished nation, where access to health services can be difficult,” Agence France-Presse reports. When a person tests positive for malaria, health workers begin them on treatment immediately and send a text message with the patient’s age, gender, type of malaria, and location “to the district health center, provincial health officials and a national malaria database in the capital Phnom Penh — a process that used to take a month,” AFP notes. “The information is also fed into Google Earth to create a map of reported cases and of potential hotspots of [malaria drug] resistance,” a problem in western Cambodia, according to the news service. “Together, the data helps officials track each case and make sure the right treatment is available or that more medication is supplied when stocks are running low,” AFP writes, adding, “Some 230 volunteers have used the mobile phone service so far and there are plans to eventually include all volunteers in the project,” which is being implemented by the Malaria Consortium (Se, 9/17).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.

source : http://www.news-medical.net/news/20120917/Mobile-phone-text-messaging-service-allows-health-workers-to-track-malaria-cases-in-Cambodia.aspx

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

Full story

Copyright © 2017 Medical Technology & Gadgets Blog MedicalBuy.net. All rights reserved.
Proudly powered by WordPress. Developed by Deluxe Themes