Immunoassays and Methods to Diagnose Syphilis by Immobilizing a Lipoidal Antigen on a Solid Support

Syphilis, a genital ulcerative disease caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum, is associated with significant complications if left untreated. Syphilis rates in the United States have been increasing.

CDC scientists have developed a method for capturing anti-lipoidal antibodies that are produced during syphilis infection. This method works by immobilizing a lipoidal antigen including (but not limited to) cardiolipin, lecithin and cholesterol on a solid support such as a nitrocellulose membrane. When the membrane-bound lipoidal antigen is exposed to a patient serum sample, any antibodies specific for the lipoidal antigen will be captured, allowing for easy detection. Detection may be accomplished by a visual, qualitative method producing results that are easy to read and interpret. The test can be used at the point-of-care (POC), in rural areas and/or in field studies. This method is adaptable for use with other antigen-antibody interactions and diagnostics for additional diseases characterized by the presence of anti-lipoidal antibodies.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Point-of-care diagnostic testing for syphilis
  • Rapid lateral flow or flow-through combination (nontreponemal/treponemal) screening for syphilis
  • Monitoring and public health surveillance
  • Syphilis research
  • Easy to interpret results
  • Requires no specialty equipment or refrigeration
  • Detects syphilis antibodies in serum samples
  • Combination screening and confirmatory test in one device
  • Can be used in a point-of-care assay allowing for convenience, rapid results, low costs, and field use

Related Invention(s):


Arnold Castro (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Robert George (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: 8,389,229 issued 2013-03-05
PCT Application No. PCT/US2006/024117 filed on 2006-06-20
US Application No. 11/993,213 filed on 2008-01-11
US Application No. 13/421,681 filed on 2012-03-15

Collaboration Opportunity:

The CDC Technology Transfer Office (TTO) is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate, or commercialize: Immunoassays and Methods to Diagnose Syphilis by Immobilizing a Lipoidal Antigen on a Solid Support. For collaboration opportunities, please contact CDC TTO at or 1-404-639-1330.

Licensing Contact:
Jeremiah Mitzelfelt,
Phone: 301-443-8518

OTT Reference No: E-321-2013-0
Updated: Sep 11, 2018