A central service for the fast, accurate and sensitive detection of pathogens in suspected cases of dermatophytosis

Project start
Institution: Charité Berlin
Applicant: Prof. Dr. Yvonne Gräser
Ms. Kosanke preparing the real-time PCR reaction for the fast and accurate identification of pathogens causing dermatophytosis

Every third European suffers from nail or skin fungi and associated pain, discomfort and shame. Patients typically have to wait long for a doctor’s appointment, which is why many treat themselves with over-the-counter products. If a physician is consulted, the available diagnostic tools are usually not sensitive enough and very time-consuming. Either way, patients are often treated without prior identification of the exact pathogen, which results in ineffective therapy in up to 50% of cases. 

Our business idea is to set up a service lab for a cost-effective, rapid and sensitive diagnosis for everyone, with or without a previous doctor's visit. To achieve this goal, we have identified a particular DNA sequence in the genomes of skin fungi (dermatophytes), which helps to detect and differentiate all relevant fungal species in a modular real time PCR.  Species-specific detection of dermatophytes using the new marker gene was demonstrated for several  pathogenes, and a European patent for the method has been applied and continued in a PCT application. 

Pets also carry skin fungi that can infect them and that can be transmitted to humans. This is why, in line with the One Health Initiative, our service is also aimed at pet owners and breeders who wish to have their animals examined at a reasonable price. With the help to the the two-year support by the EKFS funding line for translational research, we plan to refine the method and to validate it with clinical samples, and we want to obtain CE certification and laboratory accreditation. 

Here you can find more information:

Project partners:
Dr. Christiane Kupsch (Charité Berlin)
MSc Susanne Kosanka (Charité Berlin)