Use of Cytokines and Other Host Cell Response Molecules Collected from Breath as Non-Invasive Method to Detect Infectious Disease

A novel non-invasive point-of-care method to rapidly assess for disease is being developed. The exhaled breath condensate is the non-gaseous portion of the breath that is made up of aerosolized fluids and proteins secreted from the epithelial cells that line the walls of the lung. If properly collected and analyzed, researchers will be able to measure, map and study the presence and patterns of cytokines and their specific relationships to cellular immunological responses that occurs in disease insults. It will be possible to provide a pre-symptom window into the human body. It will be possible to begin treatment and mediation well before damage and further infection has occurred. Initial testing of animals injected with staphylococcus bacteria, which causes skin lesions, food poisoning, toxic shock syndrome and urinary tract infections, have shown a reproducible changes in protein patterns 2-3 hours after insult.

While other attempts have been made to capture the exhaled portion of the breath and the important proteins therein, the APL developed mask has several advantages which make it easier to use, more efficient and more accurate. Unlike other devices, the JHU/APL mask has a protein detector added directly to the apparatus. The detector will indicate the content of proteins acquired, real-time during the collection. Current devices freeze the collected sample for later, laboratory analysis. This procedure not only damages the proteins to be analyzed but also results in variable and insufficient levels. The APL device alerts the technician when a sufficient volume of protein is present within a sample and is independent of time or condensate volume, since neither is consistent from subject to subject. The mechanism also automatically prepares the collected sample for analysis by a matrix-assisted desorption/ionization time-of-flight (MALDI-TOF) mass spectrometry device, significantly decreasing testing time and increasing the integrity of the sample and the reproducibility of the test. TOF is a highly sensitive, rapid, mass spectrometry method capable of identifying and differentiating between the millions of proteins currently identified. There is current commercial interest in pursuing this method to more effectively manage diseases and to non-invasively screen large populations prior to epidemic outbreaks.

Patent Status: U.S. patent(s) 7067801 issued.

Type of Offer: Licensing

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