Human papillomavirus (HPV)-associated cervical cancer is one of the most common acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related malignancies. Cervical cancer is the second deadliest cancer in women around the world, and has currently become a major threat to Chinese women's health, especially in rural China and HIV epidemic areas. High-risk types of HPV are the causative agents of cervical cancer and WHO has recommended HPV testing for cervical cancer screening in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), such as China. However, PCR-based HPV detection requires expensive PCR instruments and is unaffordable for widespread use in LMICs. Recently emerging careHPVTM test, based on nucleic acid hybridization detection, has offered comparatively simpler, less expensive and more portable HPV testing, but still has many shortcomings for point-of-care (POC) diagnostic applications, including: i) relatively long detection time (~3 h), ii) use by well-trained technicians, and iii) reliance on relatively expensive instruments. In collaboration with investigators at the Cancer Institute/Hospital, Chinese Academy of Medical Sciences (CICAMS), we propose to develop, test, and validate a low-cost, minimally-instrumented POC diagnostic system for rapid detection of 14 individual high-risk HPV genotypes and HIV virus among women in HIV epidemic areas in China. Our POC diagnostic system is unique in: i) adapting a new isothermal amplification strategy for multiplex molecular diagnostics (i.e., HPV, HIV virus), ii) utilizing chemical exothermal reactions to produce the heating for isothermal amplification and freeing its operation from electrical power, and iii) leveraging ubiquitous mobile phone technology to record, analyze and report the results without the need for specialized optical detectors. We propose the following specific aims: i) development and optimization of POC diagnostic system, ii) evaluation and validation of its feasibility for clinical application, and iii) field validations and acceptability evaluation of POC system in HIV epidemic areas of China such as Dehong Prefecture, Yunnan Province. This is a complementary collaboration research between the U.S. PI with the experience on point-of-care diagnostic technology, and the Chinese PI with expertise on cervical cancer screening and field- testing. If successful, this project will readily translate into a new point-of-care tool for cervical cancer screening, which will be of tremendous value in resource poor settings (i.e., rural China) benefiting numerous women.
The objective of this project is to develop a minimally-instrumented, point of care (POC) molecular diagnostic system, and build research capacity in order to create a solid infrastructure for the implementation of cervical cancer screening in laboratory conditions as well as on the field in China. The results obtained using our POC diagnostic system will be recorded, analyzed and report using a mobile phone and compared against the results obtained using standard PCR-based diagnostic methods.
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