Fundació URV

New method for the diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis

Posted by Fundació URVResponsive · Patents for licensing · Spain

Summary of the technology

Leishmaniasis is an endemic parasitic disease that is found in most parts of the tropics, subtropics and southern Europe. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is the most common form of Leishmaniasis. It is caused by the protozoan Leishmania parasites, which are transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sand-flies. Cutaneous Leishmaniasis causes skin lesions, mainly ulcers, on exposed parts of the body, leaving life-long scars and serious disability. The skin lesions usually develop within several weeks or months after exposure.
About 95% of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis cases occur in the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and Central Asia. An estimated number of 0.6 million to 1 million cases occur worldwide annually.
Over two thirds of new Cutaneous Leishmaniasis cases occur in the next six countries: Afghanistan, Algeria, Brazil, Colombia, Iran and Syria.
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis is diagnosed by detecting Leishmania parasites in tissue specimens from skin lesions via light-microscopic examination of stained slides, specialized culture techniques, or molecular methods. This disease is treatable and curable. Early diagnosis and effective case management reduces the prevalence of the disease and prevents disabilities and death. Hence, early detection and prompt treatment of cases would therefore help to reduce transmission and to monitor the spread and burden of the diseases.
In this invention, a new system for non-invasive, early, fast and easy to use diagnosis test for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis from exhaled breath analysis has been developed.

Fundació URV

Description of the technology

The test developed is easy to use for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis disease diagnosis from exhaled breath analysis. The test is suitable for use even in non-specialist setting (e.g., by the own patient).
The patient needs to exhale through a homologated breath sampler device. The breath sample is measured with an electronic nose system that comprised an array of chemical gas sensors and a pattern recognition algorithm. The chemical gas sensors have as sensing materials monolayers of metallic nanoparticles (Au, Cu or Pt) functionalised with different organic ligands.
The pattern recognition algorithm employed to make the discriminative model between for Cutaneous Leishmaniasis is Discriminant Factor Analysis (DFA). Sensors signals are acquired, analysed and project over the DFA discriminative model, which provides a diagnostic result (either Cutaneous Leishmaniasis or Not Cutaneous Leishmaniasis). The accuracy of this new system is 96,4% (96.4% sensitivity; 96.4% specificity) in all the analysed samples.


Current development status

Working prototypes


This invention can be used for the early and fast diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis. It is easy to use and can be performed in both specialist and non-specialists settings, including by the own patient. It is non-invasive and the results can be visualised conveniently on a display or a computer screen. It is very suitable for mass screening and it would be of great help for the medical doctors as (pre)diagnosis.

Desired business relationship

Patent licensing

Intellectual property status

Patent already applied for

Technology Owner

Unitat de Valorització de la URV

Licensing Manager at Fundació URV

Related keywords

  • Industrial Technologies
  • Chemical Technology and Engineering
  • Biological Sciences
  • Biology / Biotechnology
  • Medical Health related
  • Diagnostic
  • Diagnostic services
  • Clinical Medicine
  • Genetic Engineering / Molecular Biology
  • cutaneous,
  • leishmaniasis
  • screening

About Fundació URV

Technology Transfer Office from Spain

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