Divulgação, Notícias

Leishmaniasis: study seeking serological differential diagnosis for HIL wins the Post-doctorate category of the 2016 Junior Researcher Award

Research assessed the antigen potential of six new antigens able to discriminate distinct serum from human patients with HIL from others with VL, Chagas and healthy people


The idea came from the clinical medicines need for a 100% sensitive and specific HIL differential serological diagnosis platform

A work aiming to create a fast, sensitive, specific and cheap diagnostic kit for Human Integumentary Leishmaniasis (HIL), and its various distinct clinical manifestations, was the great winner of the Post-Doctorate category of the 2016 Junior Researcher Award.

According to the prizes winner, Doctor Lourena Emanuele Costa, the projects idea came from the absence, until the moment, of a 100% sensitive and specific differential serological diagnosis platform for the disease in clinical medicine.

This type of leishmaniasis is an infectious but not contagious disease, causing ulcers in the skin and airway mucous membranes. It is transmitted to humans by sandflies infected by protozoa from the Leishmania genus. Without treatment, it can lead to severe consequences.

The research assessed the antigenic potential of six new antigens. They are able to discriminate distinct serum from human patients with integumentary leishmaniasis – mucous and cutaneous forms – from other patients with visceral leishmaniasis, Chagas and healthy people from endemic and non-endemic regions.

We used a molecular biology technique called Phage Display, which is simple, modern and cheap. It basically consists in seeking new antigens for a specific target molecule, and for such, it uses a tool, the bacteriophage, a genetically modified bacteria virus, explained Doctor Lourena. Still according to her, wild phages, the form available in nature, were used as the experiments controls.

The research was performed in partnership with the Clinics Hospital from the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG) and the Reference Center for Infectious and Parasitic Diseases (CTR-DIP Orestes Diniz, both reference for leishmaniasis treatment. Besides Dr. Lourena, also joined the work researchers Beatriz C. S. Salles, Patrícia T. Alves, Ana C. S. Dias, Emília R. Vaz, Fernanda F. Ramos, Daniel Menezes-Souza, Mariana C. Duarte, Daniel Silva Dias, Ana Maria Ravena Severino Carvalho, Fernanda L. Ribeiro, Patrícia Aparecida Fernandes Ribeiro, Bruno M. Roatt, Denise U. Gonçalves, Manoel O. C. Rocha, Luiz Ricardo Goulart, Eduardo A. F. Coelho. At all, 17 researchers and 130 patients were involved in the study from 2014 to 2015.

The work resulted in two intellectual property patents. One for the negative and positive selection method adopted (to refine antigens – unprecedented method) and other for the six valid phages and their respective patented peptide sequences.…