African trypanosomiasis is in need of new diagnostic detection tools and new treatment methods. To date the widely used card agglutination test for trypanosomiasis is not very specific as the test is based on the screening for cross-reactive host antibodies. The availability of treatment for Trypanosmiasis on the other hand is limited due to the fact that only very few drugs are registered for use, and all can cause serious side effects in treated patients or animals. Hence, this project will focus on the development of new and innovative diagnosis and treatment tools, using the nanobody technology that has been developed by the coordinating partner of this network. Nanobodies are small single domain antibody fragments that have unique properties that include their capacity to recognize particular epitopes (not recognized by conventional antibodies) and their improved stability. In addition, they can be used as molecular target- or transport devices of other biological active components. As such they are excellent tools to support this project. Despite the fact that the coordinating laboratory has been a pioneer in differential molecular characterization of African trypanosomes and were involved in the initial release of diagnostic PCR methods that have now been adopted by many other research groups, this project will deliberately adopt a different approach. Indeed, in comparison to nanobody technology, PCR based diagnostics are much more costly and require an infrastructure that is hard to sustain over prolonged periods of time in African ‘field situations’. The simplicity of the nanobody technology on the other hand makes it an excellent topic for knowledge transfer. Despite it’s high-technology approach, the technique it will be relatively easy to be adopted by laboratories of participating African partner groups.
Call for proposal
See other projects for this call