WHO reports that tuberculosis results to millions of deaths or disabilities each year, especially in poorer areas of the planet. The problem is exacerbated by the AIDS epidemic that increases disease incidence in developed countries too. However in addition to tuberculosis, exposure to mycobacteria has also been linked to the pathogenesis of sarcoidosis and Crohn's disease that affect millions of people in Europe only. Diagnostic investigation of mycobacterial infections is hampered by the difficulty to detect in a specific manner low populations of mycobacteria or the immunology markers associated with the infections they cause. The NANOMYC project aims to develop a highly sensitive and specific, quantifiable detection system for molecular and immunology diagnostic markers associated with infection caused by M. tuberculosis complex (human and animal tuberculosis, implicated in sarcoidosis) and M. paratuberculosis (animal paratuberculosis, implicated in Crohn's disease). To this goal the consortium will combine nanotechnology and molecular biology incorporating the recent advances on the sequencing of mycobacterial genomes to routine diagnostics. Experts on mycobacteria genetics and nano-technology will produce a number of biomolecules that will be conjugated to a set of functionalized quantum dots with different oproelectrochemical characteristics. The NANOMYC assay will be developed in order to be applied for: a) in-field diagnostics using portable devices for evaluation of liquid samples, and b) manual and automated evaluation of solid samples using fluorescence resonance energy transfer. The final product will be a world innovation and it will target a market of several billion euro/year. Marketing of the NANOMYC assay will be used to sustain the project's administrative and financial platform and continue research activities in order to further the proposed technology for in-vivo diagnostic and therapeutic applications.
Fields of science
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Funding SchemeSTREP - Specific Targeted Research Project