UMDNJ to receive TB biomarkers grant from Gates Foundation

The University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) announced today that Dr. David Alland, professor of medicine, chief of infectious diseases, and director of the Center for Emerging and Re-Emerging Pathogens at UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, will receive a tuberculosis (TB) biomarkers grant awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative which seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world.

With the grant, awarded through the Foundation of UMDNJ, Dr. Alland will pursue an innovative research project to identify and validate TB biomarkers, titled "Permeable Magnetic Nanoparticles for point-of-care tuberculosis diagnosis."

The Grand Challenges TB biomarkers program provides funding for groundbreaking research into TB biomarkers for the development of a low-cost, simple to use tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose TB in developing countries.

"There is an urgent need to break through barriers in biomarker research in order to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases," said Chris Wilson, director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope these innovative ideas lead to effective and affordable TB diagnostics that can make an impact on one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases."

Dr. Alland's project is one of ten Grand Challenges TB biomarkers grants awarded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Diagnostic assays are important components of tuberculosis (TB) control programs. Numerous methods exist that can rapidly detect Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB) in patient sputum (and potentially in other clinical samples). However, a major limitation common to virtually every one of these methods lies in the difficulty of extracting MTB from the clinical sample. This project will develop a simple, rapid and sensitive method to magnetically extract MTB from any volume of sputum that can reasonably be produced by a patient. MTB extracted with this method will be suitable for detection by many downstream technologies that can be adapted to point of care detection. This project will overcome a major roadblock in TB diagnostics, enabling many innovative diagnostic platforms to be applied to detecting this disease.

Source:

University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ)

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