Fluorescent Aptamer Tests for Active and Latent Leishmania

Award Information
Agency: Department of Defense
Branch: Army
Contract: W81XWH-05-C-0019
Agency Tracking Number: A043-177-0707
Amount: $69,953.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2004
Solicitation Topic Code: A04-177
Solicitation Number: 2004.3
Small Business Information
4100 N. W. Loop 410, Suite 230, San Antonio, TX, 78229
DUNS: 154088710
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 John Bruno
 Senior Scientist
 (210) 731-0015
Business Contact
 William Henderson
Title: Corporate Financial Officer
Phone: (210) 731-0000
Email: bhenders@otcorp.com
Research Institution
Operational Technologies Corporation (OpTech) proposes to couple the sensitivity of fluorescence-based assays with the high affinity and selectivity of DNA aptamers as replacements for antibodies to detect Leishmania infections. The primary target for detection of active cutaneous Leishmania species will be the common 11kD kinetoplastid membrane protein (KMP-11). During Phase I, OpTech will make FRET (fluorescence resonance energy transfer) DNA aptamers to the entire KMP-11 protein and several Leishmania-specific antigens provided by the Army. Latent infections may be detectable by anti-KMP-11 antibodies and possibly infection-related cytokines or markers via a competitive FRET assay employing lower affinity fluorophore-labeled aptamers and quencher-labeled KMP-11, which OpTech will attempt to demonstrate in Phase I. Lower affinity aptamers can be produced by fewer cycles of SELEX (Systematic Evolution of Ligands by EXponential enrichment) and by controlling buffer stringency. If successful, OpTech will optimize and adapt each of these assays for use in field kits to detect Leishmania in both blood samples and captured sand flies by use of a commercially available handheld, battery-operated fluorometer. Final assays will be freeze-dried in sealed plastic cuvettes or in OpTech's proprietary magnetic bead-based microfluidic plastic cartridge, which is currently under development.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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