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MAP Diagnostic Test

As MAP in humans is very difficult to culture, most current MAP tests rely on PCR. This is primarily a research tool that measures the amount of MAP DNA in a sample.

PCR diagnostics work well for many other infections and are increasingly used in clinical practice. However, because MAP in humans is very small and very tough, sample processing procedures which release DNA from other bacteria do not work well on human MAP. This makes the MAP PCR test in humans too complex and unreliable to be a widely applicable clinical diagnostic. The lack of a suitable human MAP diagnostic is a major unmet medical need.

Research carried out by Prof. Hermon-Taylor at King’s College London over the past five years has resulted in the development of a new technology for the diagnosis of MAP infection in humans. This proprietary technology provides for the simple and rapid detection and quantification of MAP in blood and tissue samples using Flow Cytometry and routine histopathology available in hospital clinical laboratories.

A unique feature of the technology is that it provides, for the first time, a detailed visualisation of the MAP infection in human tissues and blood.

The new MAP test will be an important “companion diagnostic” in the HAV anti-MAP vaccine trials as it will allow physicians to confirm and quantify MAP infection prior to therapeutic vaccination and to monitor patients’ responses to the vaccine. It could also be applicable to measuring responses to other anti-MAP treatments, including existing treatments for Crohn’s disease that have an anti-MAP component.

Furthermore, the MAP test may reduce the need for repeated colonoscopies in disease monitoring, help reduce diagnostic uncertainty in IBD and provide new insights into disease mechanisms. It is likely also to be applicable to the diagnosis of MAP infection in common related disorders such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome.