NEW YORK — Kephera Diagnostics said today that it has received a $594,008 grant from the National Institutes of Health to develop a test to help determine whether a patient may be cured of Chagas disease.
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and, if left untreated, can cause cardiac and intestinal complications including fatal cardiomyopathy. According to Framingham, Massachusetts-based Kephera, Chagas treatment can be lengthy and there is no currently available method to confirm whether a patient has been cured.
With the two-year Small Business Innovation Research grant, the company will develop a prototype test of cure that measures immune responses to select T. cruzi antigens, which will be evaluated in Chagas patients who have undergone treatment. The work will be done in collaboration with Infynity Biomarkers, the Vitalant Research Institute, and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Sao Paulo.
Kephera said that the test will ultimately be offered in both laboratory and point-of-care formats.
"Developing a test-of-cure fits with Kephera Diagnostics' mission to address the diagnostic needs and challenges posed by emerging and neglected diseases, of which Chagas has been called the most neglected," Kephera CEO Andrew Levin said in a statement.
Last year, Kephera was awarded a $599,316 NIH grant to develop a point-of-care test for the disease.