Olfr90 and Fungal Volatiles

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Unmet Need
Increasingly, invasive mold infections have been recognized in people who are immune compromised by genetic conditions, aging, other infections (e.g. HIV) and modern medicine (e.g. transplantation). Moreover, increasing evidence points to the role of these organisms as causes of environmental toxicities and industrial spoilage. An over-abundance of mold products- especially the organic metabolites that are secreted during the asexual reproduction phase- have been associated with food spoilage, industrial contaminations, and the medical syndrome characterized by respiratory complaints and generalized feelings of being unwell, frequently called “sick building syndrome”. Over-exposure to molds has been associated with several allergic manifestations, including asthma and allergic sinusitis. For these reasons, there has been increasing need to identify the presence of molds in the environment, industrial products and animals, enabling improvements in environmental health and medicine.

Technology Overview
JHU researchers have demonstrated that the G-Protein Coupled (GPCR) human Olfactory Receptor 90 (Olfr90) is exquisitely sensitive to fungal metabolites.  As a result of this discovery, they’ve postulated an Olfr90 biosensor for the detection of fungal volatiles in both animals and the environment.    

Stage of Development
The researchers have reached a pre-clinical proof of concept stage.  They’ve demonstrated that Olfr90 acts as a receptor for 10 volatile organic compounds (VOCs) metabolized or derived from fungi.
Patent Information:
Title App Type Country Serial No. Patent No. File Date Issued Date Expire Date Patent Status
Olfr90 and Fungal Volatiles PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty PCT PCT/US2017/024974   3/30/2017     Expired
Olfr90 and Fungal Volatiles PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty European Patent Office 17776635.9   3/30/2017     Pending
OLFR90 SPECIFICITY AND METHODS OF DETECTION PCT: Patent Cooperation Treaty United States 16/139,438 9/24/2018     Pending
For Information, Contact:
Carole Burns
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