A project to improve diagnostics for tuberculosis participates in an MIT mentoring programme

The IGTP research group for Innovation in respiratory infections and tuberculosis diagnosis has taken part in the 2017 edition of IDEA2 Global, a mentoring programme of MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) to encourage innovative ideas in health and help to convert them into transferable projects from the point of view both of applications in health and of business.The group's project was selected through the Spanish Foundation for Prospective Innovation (FIPSE) from dozens of applications.

The project is led by Dr José Domínguez and proposes the development of a new diagnostic method for tuberculosis (TB) based on studying the metabolome present in urine via a rapid test.For 6 months an international group of experts accompanied the project, which was presented in the first meeting in Boston at the start of June.The researches then received feedback, aimed at highlighting the strengths and weaknesses in the path towards transfer and a practical clinical use for the project.

From June to December Dr Domínguez has worked at a distance with several mentors, all from the fields of business, entrepreneurship or academia.They have evaluated the business possibilities and contacted other groups who have helped to identify the best technology, carry out market analysis and above all question aspects of the project."The intensity of the programme and the general level have forced us to reach for more solid results," explains Dr Domínguez, who is very satisfied with how the project has evolved in six months.The final presentations have taken place this December, again at the MIT headquarters.

Our contact with MIT has served to define the product, get to know the market we are aiming at and to better define how to get there," concluded Dr Domínguez.He also thinks it has been a very positive experience. "Participating in a prestigious programme and to live in the environment where science is very focussed on transfer, adds value to the technology," He told us.

TB Diagnosis

Currently TB is diagnosed using culture techniques; a long process that does not favour rapid diagnosis, or therefore, treatment of the disease.   More agile methods using new molecular diagnostic techniques exist, but they are expensive and not available to everyone.  Urine, on the other hand, is an easy clinical sample to collect so the project is to study a means of diagnosis using metabolites in urine.

IDEA2 Global

Based at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, IDEA2 Global offers transformative mentoring and emerging leading experts in innovative methods to help teams refine the objectives of their research, anticipate challenges and identify multiple channels for development. 

Proposals participating in IDEA2 Global come from around the world, most of them after previously qualifying in other programmes for innovation in health, such as the case of the IGTP group via FIPSE