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New life-saving diagnostic test for HIV patients featured in “Better World Report”



kozel-600x400-6959487-1681407Research conducted at University of Nevada, Reno and licensed through the University’s Technology Transfer Office is featured in the technology transfer publication “Better World Report” for a remarkable second year in a row.

The article details a research advancement that has been licensed through IMMY, a diagnostics company, for a new diagnostic test that will help save the lives of hundreds of thousands of AIDS patients stricken with cryptococcosis, a fungal meningitis.

The new, rapid blood test known as the CrAg Lateral Flow Assay leads to early diagnosis of cryptococcosis, a leading cause of AIDS-related deaths in developing countries, by detecting the cryptoccocal antigen. The antibody used for the test was developed by Tom Kozel, professor of microbiology of the University of Nevada School of Medicine, at the Reno campus with grants from the National Institutes of Health.

“It’s fantastic to be featured in the publication again,” Ryan Heck, director of the University’s Technology Transfer Office, said. “The collaboration with IMMY is more about saving lives than making money. They agreed right away to make the product low-cost so it would be easily available in developing countries to make the most impact on saving lives.

“Tech transfer is about moving innovations from the University into the marketplace to help generate economic development, though sometimes it’s less about economic impact and more about societal impact.”

The new diagnostic product has been available in South Africa, Kenya and Uganda, and recent FDA approval makes it available globally. The point-of-care product is a simple field-usable dipstick test requiring no sophisticated equipment and enables treatment to begin immediately in the field, an important consideration when early treatment is crucial for successfully treating cryptococcosis.

The 2011 “Better World Report,” published by the international Association of University Technology Managers (http://www.autm.net), is an annual collection of stories recognizing real-world, research-driven technologies that directly impact the health and well-being of people around the globe.

“Better World profiled 23 stories selected from research institutions across the country that they felt were making the world a better place,” Heck said. “I’m pleased that Dr. Kozel’s work and our agreement with IMMY were selected for publication.”

The publication can be viewed at www.betterworldproject.org/documents/AUTM11BWR_FNL.pdf. More information about the CrAg LFA can be found at www.immy.com. A fact sheet issued by the Center for Disease Control can be viewed at www.cdc.gov/ncezid/dfwed/factsheets/FACTSHEET_Cryptococcus_revised%205-17-2011.pdf.

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