MycEXomics aims to develop a field-friendly point-of-care diagnostic test for mycetoma
  • RFP Year
  • Awarded Amount
  • Disease
    NTD (Mycetoma)
  • Intervention
  • Development Stage
    Concept Development
  • Collaboration Partners
    RIKEN, Hospital General de Mexico, Mycetoma Research Centre (MRC), University of Khartoum, Erasmus University Medical Center

Introduction and Background of the Project


Mycetoma is a neglected tropical disease of the subcutaneous tissue and is characterized by large tumor-like lesions. It is caused by more than 70 different causative agents, but four of these are responsible for 79.5% of all mycetoma cases world-wide. Appropriate treatment outcome depends on proper identification of the causative organism. 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.


Project objective

To identify species-specific markers for the 4 most common causative agents of mycetoma in urine and plasma of mycetoma patients


Project design

In order to identify species-specific markers a five step-approach will be taken

  1. Urine and plasma will be isolated from patients with mycetoma
  2. The causative agent will be identified by PCR
  3. Exosomes will be isolated from urine and plasma, as they will most likely contain species specific markers
  4. RNA will be isolated from the exosomes and sequenced
  5. The transcriptomes will be profiled and markers identified

The markers identified in MycEXomics can later be used to develop Point-of-Care diagnostic tools to detect early cases of mycetoma.

How can your partnership (project) address global health challenges?

Mycetoma is a debilitating disease and many patients become dependent on their relatives and society. Treatment of mycetoma is expensive and of long duration. On top of that for fungal mycetoma surgery or even amputation are needed. Higher therapeutic success rates are obtained when mycetoma is diagnosed early. Currently, there is no point-of-care test for mycetoma and screening for early (subclinical) cases is impossible. As a result, the disease is often only identified at a late stage. By identifying markers which in the future can be developed in point-of-care diagnostic tools we hope to identify mycetoma as early as possible in order to prevent the need for amputations.

What sort of innovation are you bringing in your project?

Since for mycetoma currently no diagnostic markers are available, we will be the first to identify these markers directly in urine and plasma. By isolating RNA from exosomes we will maximize the likelihood of not only identifying host-associated markers but also pathogen-associated markers.

Role and Responsibility of Each Partner


Manage GHIT investment & will sequence the RNA isolated from the exosomes and characterize the expression profile of the individual markers.

Mycetoma Research Centre (MRC) & Hospital General de México “Dr. Eduardo Liceaga”

Mycetoma Research Centre and Hospital General de México will be responsible for collecting blood and urine from mycetoma patients. They will also diagnose the patients according to the protocols used in their institutes.

Erasmus University Medical Center

ErasmusMC will verify the species identification by sequencing and isolate the exosomes and purify RNA from them.

Together the four partners will identify diagnostic markers for each of the four causative agents of mycetoma.