Detecting Infectious Disease Without Needles, Through Skin Patch

Dr. Simon Corrie PhD The University of Queensland, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Delivery of Drugs and Genes Group Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, St. Lucia, Queensland, AustraliaMedicalResearch.com: Interview with:
Dr. Simon Corrie PhD
The University of Queensland, Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, Delivery of Drugs and Genes Group
Australian Infectious Diseases Research Centre, St. Lucia, Queensland, Australia

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Corrie: P. falciparum malaria is a major cause of morbidity and mortality around the world, particularly in developing countries. Some estimates also suggest that in developing countries, children under 5 account for ~90% mortality. As malaria is treatable, positive detection is important rule out other causes, avoid over-treatment leading to resistance, and to guide appropriate treatment. Our focus is on developing diagnostic devices for infectious diseases, which do not require needles, lancets or laboratory processing.

These devices are “microprojection arrays”, silicon chips that can be applied to the skin to capture circulating protein biomarkers in the interstitial fluid of the skin. In this publication we:
(a) developed methods to improve the sensitivity of the devices for capturing HRP2,
(b) confirmed that HRP2 protein injected intravenously is detectable in skin fluid and
(c) showed that we could capture both HRP2 and total IgG (as a positive control for penetration into skin) at the same time.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Corrie: This publication is a very early stage proof of concept of the microprojection array technology that shows we can capture relevant proteins from the skin fluid of live mice. Further development will take significant time and funding to ensure that the technique is safe and efficacious in humans.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Corrie: We would like to apply the technology to
(a) mouse model of “complete” P. falciparum infection, rather than a simple protein injection. However, these models are quite rare.
Furthermore, (b) we would like to apply the technology in human clinical trials, to compare against current clinical detection methods and to evaluate the simplicity and acceptability of the method for use in remote locations.

Citation:

Capture of the Circulating Plasmodium falciparum Biomarker HRP2 in a Multiplexed Format, via a Wearable Skin Patch

Khai Tuck Lee, David A. Muller, Jacob W. Coffey, Kye J. Robinson, James S. McCarthy, Mark A. F. Kendall, and Simon R. Corrie

Analytical Chemistry 2014 86 (20), 10474-10483