Development of a test to detect and monitor heart damage in patients with rheumatic fever

Graduate Research School For Candidates Prospective Candidates Available Projects Development of a test to detect and monitor heart damage in patients with rheumatic fever

Development of a test to detect and monitor heart damage in patients with rheumatic fever

Title of Project

Development of a test to detect and monitor heart damage in patients with rheumatic fever

Name of Advisor/s

Professor Natkunam Ketheesan

College

College of Public Health, Medical & Veterinary Science

Summary of Project

Rheumatic fever / rheumatic heart disease (RF/RHD) affects around 16 million people and is responsible for over a quarter of a million deaths annually. It is triggered by a bacterial infection caused by group A streptococci. Currently no vaccines are available to prevent this infection. Although treatment with antibiotics can prevent progression of RF/RHD these monthly antibiotic injections have to be given to patients for 10 years to prevent progressive heart damage leading to heart failure and death. Most patients with RF/RHD are unable to access healthcare facilities with echocardiography and disease outcome for such patients is grim. The availability of a rapid, relatively inexpensive, easy to use blood test in basic primary care settings will be a paradigm shift to enable monitoring of heart tissue damage. This project is to develop and validate a cheap blood test based on antibody levels to cardiac myosin that can be used as a rapid screening test to assess heart tissue damage.

Key Words

rheumatic fever and rheumatic heart disease, autoimmunity, host-pathogen interactions, immune mechanisms

Would suit an applicant who

A graduate who has completed a BSc (Honours) or MSc in areas related to host-pathogen interaction, infectious diseases, immunology or molecular biology