Researchers from the Life and Health Sciences Research Institute of the University of Minho have developed a new method for the diagnosis of patients with Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA). The invention has the potential to overcome the limitations of current diagnostic assays based on fungal surrogate markers (e.g., galactomannan and beta-D-glucan detection, Aspergillus PCR, culture, microscopy, etc.) in terms of sensitive, specific, and early detection of invasive aspergillosis.
The invention concerns the identification of novel host- and fungal-derived metabolites in the serum of patients suffering from invasive pulmonary aspergillosis. Invasive pulmonary aspergillosis (IPA) is a life-threatening infection caused predominantly by the opportunistic fungus Aspergillus fumigatus. It is commonly diagnosed among patients with immunological deficits, including haematological patients or recipients of hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation. Established infection is difficult to eradicate, resulting in unacceptable mortality rates. Vaccines are not available and accurate diagnosis is challenging. Risk of infection and its clinical outcome vary significantly even among patients with similar predisposing clinical conditions. Consequently, there is a pressing demand for new and improved diagnostic methods for IPA.
Innovative Aspects and Main advantages
Currently available diagnostic assays for IPA are limited in their sensitivity, specificity, and early detection capabilities. Our metabolomic-based approach overcomes these limitations by detecting both host- and fungal-derived metabolites, providing a more accurate diagnosis. This technology has the potential to improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare costs by enabling early and accurate diagnosis of IPA.
The potential of this invention is related to its use in fungal diagnostics as it allows for discrimination between cases of fungal infection and non-infected patients. The technology might interest companies involved in fungal diagnostics, including pharmaceutical companies, clinical laboratories, and medical device manufacturers.
Stage of Development
The diagnostic performance of specific metabolites has been confirmed in “real-life” clinical samples and a validation study is underway. A prototype for a portable assay will be designed to detect the most promising class of metabolites, avoiding the need for mass spectroscopy.
Intellectual Property Rights
We intend to file a patent for the technology.
The team is looking for companies willing to discuss research collaborations or/and licensing arrangements for commercial exploitation of the technology.