The Mycexomics Project
- Published: 28 February 2021
MycEXomics is a Global Health Innovative Technology Fund (GHIT Fund) funded research project which aims by combining academic and industrial expertise and resources to develop point-of-care diagnostics tools for the most common causative agents of Mycetoma. The project consortium has four collaborating partners from RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences Japan, The Mycetoma Research Centre (MRC) Sudan, The Hospital General de México, Mexico and Erasmus University Medical Center The Netherlands. The project budget is $285,937, and the first phase of the project [Concept Development] will run in the period 2020/04 and 2021/12.
The current mycetoma diagnostics tools are tedious, invasive of low sensitivity and specificity and expensive. Presently there is no point-of-care diagnostic test for mycetoma. In MycEXomics, the transcriptomic examination of exosomes isolated from patients' urine and serum to identify diagnostic RNA markers of the four most common causative agents of mycetoma will be done. The transcriptome will be determined, and ten unique markers per species will be identified. The most informative markers will be, in the future, used to develop point-of-care diagnostic tools in mycetoma endemic areas clinical settings. They will be the centre of the future product development platform.
Why the project is important
Currently, there is neither a field-friendly nor point of care diagnostic test for mycetoma. Patients need to travel long distances to regional centres to establish the diagnosis, which is not always feasible due to their low socio-economic status, low health education, scarcity of medical and health facilities at their localities, and roadblocks during the raining season. Hence most of these patients present late with advanced disease, and massive surgical excisions and amputation of the affected part may be the only available treatment.
The proper treatment of mycetoma depends on mycetoma type and disease extent. Numerous mycological, histopathological, and molecular tests are required to identify the causative organisms. However, most of these tests and techniques are invasive, of low specificity and sensitivity, expensive for patients and health providers and not available in endemic areas.
Presently, there is no control or preventive programme in mycetoma, and only early case detection and proper treatment are possible modalities to reduce the disease burden, and they are the only predictors of good treatment outcome.
The Project Collaborators
World Map showing the collaborators in Japan, Sudan, Mexico, The Netherlands
Mycetoma Research Centre
The Mycetoma Research Centre (MRC) is a global leader in mycetoma management and research. The centre was set up in 1991 at the University of Khartoum and was designed as WHO Collaborating Centre on Mycetoma in 2015. The centre aims to improve mycetoma patients quality of life and generate evidence-based developments in mycetoma care. The centre recognises the importance of taking a multidisciplinary approach to mycetoma management, as holistic care includes medical, surgical and rehabilitative interventions. Community involvement is recognised as essential to improve care-seeking behaviour and patient support, as most mycetoma patients reside in resource-poor and remote rural access. Research, innovation and the transfer of knowledge form the cornerstone of the MRC practice. Read more
RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences
Is a Japan lead research institute in medical science, "At the RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS), we aim to clarify the pathogenic mechanisms underlying human diseases and to translate this knowledge into novel therapies for the benefit of society." Kazuhiko Yamamoto, Director, RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences, read more
Mycology department & Dermatology service. Hospital General de México “Dr. Eduardo Liceaga”
The Dermatology Service of the General Hospital of Mexico "Dr. Eduardo Liceaga", is a multidisciplinary care centre for the main dermatoses. It is a free admission service that cares for all types of patients. One of the main lines of work and research are tropical diseases and within them deep mycoses, because most affect a group population in poverty and with few resources; Mycetoma is an important clinical entity for Mexico due to its high number of cases, which is why our service has focused on providing epidemiological studies, collaboration with other working groups in the research of mycetoma, fieldwork in communities of little access for studies of various mycosis (including mycetoma) and provide knowledge about the diagnosis. Especially the contribution of new treatments, particularly focused on actinomycetoma (By Nocardia spp), because it is our main etiological agent.
Erasmus Medical Centre
The Department of Medical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases of ErasmusMC has been active in mycetoma research since 1998. Its research focusses on the improvement of the diagnosis and therapy for fungal mycetoma. In vitro susceptibility assays in vivo invertebrate and mouse models were developed to improve the therapy, and it is involved in the open-source drug discovery program mycetos. To enhance the diagnosis of mycetoma, it developed DNA isolation techniques for fungal mycetoma, diagnostic PCRs and isothermal amplification assays for the most common causative agents and identified antigens for Madurella mycetomatis. In this project, it will isolate exosomes from urine and plasma and subsequently RNA from those exosomes. Read more