KS Detect: New Tool for Diagnosing Kaposi’s Sarcoma

Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) is one of the most common cancers in sub-Saharan Africa. It often arises in patients with HIV but is difficult to distinguish from other diseases, particularly where access to trained pathologists and diagnostic tools is scarce. Recent studies have suggested that identification of high levels of the Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) in skin biopsies represents the best method of unambiguous diagnosis without immunohistochemistry.

David Erickson, Sibley School of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, and Ethel Cesarman, Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Weill Cornell Medicine, are field testing and clinically validating a rapid, point-of-care platform for the diagnosis of KS in limited resource settings.

To achieve this, Erickson and Cesarman have brought together a team of engineers, local physicians, clinical epidemiologists, translation partners, and entrepreneurs from Cornell, University of California, San Francisco, and the Infectious Diseases Institute in Kampala, Uganda. Cesarman, one of the original discoverers of the virus that causes KS, will lead the molecular pathology effort.

The KS-Detect diagnostic platform uses solar power and smartphone technology. It therefore operates without reliance on external infrastructure. This also allows it to maintain a high degree of usability with low per-unit cost. Providing rapid diagnosis of KS promises to facilitate earlier detection in the community at a clinical stage when the disease is more responsive to therapy. By the end of the project, the team will have demonstrated both the field efficacy of the technology as well as quantifiably evaluated its effect on the early detection of KS. NIH Award Number: 1UH2CA202723-01

Cornell Researchers

Funding Received

$1 Million spanning 2 years

Other Research Sponsored by National Institutes of Health