Boston Children’s Hospital, a 395-bed hospital in the Longwood Medical and Academic Area of Boston, Massachusetts, has signed a partnership agreement with Abwiz Bio to develop a prototype test kit to diagnose Kawasaki Disease (KD).
The objective of the collaboration is to utilise the hospital’s clinical resources, scientific expertise and Technology Development Fund programme, along with Abwiz Bio’s antibody technology platform to develop rapid, accurate point-of-care assays to detect key biomarkers of KD.
Kawasaki Disease is a rare childhood illness that impacts blood vessels. If left untreated, it leads to coronary artery aneurysms in approximately 25% of inflicted children. To date, there is no definitive diagnostic test to identify the presence of KD.
In addition, symptoms of this disease mimic common childhood conditions, making it hard to diagnose.
Dr Susan Kim of Boston Children’s Hospital’s department of rheumatology, along with Dr Hanno Steen, director of the Proteomics Center, and Dr Alex Kentsis, formerly of Boston Children’s, in a study reported in EMBO Mol Med, identified several new protein markers in the urine of children with KD.
In 2011, Boston Children’s Technology Innovation & Development Office (TIDO) Technology Development Fund awarded a grant to Dr Kim to evaluate the specificity and predictive utility of two of these markers.
Dr Kim said if we can identify children with KD using a diagnostic test, we would be able to diagnose it more accurately and faster.
"This, in turn, would decrease long-term morbidity and cost in children evaluated for fever and Kawasaki Disease," Dr Kim added.
Abwiz Bio chief scientific officer Dr Toshi Maruyama said: "We are pleased to partner with Boston Children’s Hospital, which will utilise our state-of-the-art antibody technologies "WizAmpTM and Needle-in-a-Haystack selection" for the development of assays to detect key biomarkers of KD and are thrilled that these assays may contribute to the accurate and early diagnosis of children."
More than 1,100 scientists, including seven members of the National Academy of Sciences, 13 members of the Institute of Medicine and 14 members of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute make up Boston Children’s research community.
Image: Boston Children’s Hospital – main entrance. Photo courtesy of JosephBarillari.