Cardiolipin Modification for Immunoassay Detection of Syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that remains a global health threat. Syphilis rates in the United States have also been increasing. Left untreated, syphilis infection can span decades and have serious complications including blindness, dementia and paralysis. Syphilis in pregnancy causes prematurity, low birthweight, neonatal death, and infections in newborns. Improvements in syphilis detection are needed to facilitate early diagnosis of active infections and monitor treatment with antibiotics.

Researchers at the CDC have developed a rapid, serological test that detects active syphilis infections. The test is an immunoassay (e.g., enzyme immunoassay (EIA), Treponema pallidum particle agglutination assay (TPPA), enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), lateral flow device, dipstick or flow-through device) that uses modified cardiolipin, a lipoidal entity thought to be released from host cells and/or Treponema pallidum (bacterial) cells that are damaged over the course of infection, as an antigen to detect anti-cardiolipin antibodies in blood samples. CDC’s technology offers a method of quantitatively or qualitatively detecting active syphilis infections and other autoimmune diseases such as lupus.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Immunoassay that detects active syphilis infections
  • Suitable for EIA, multi-well plate ELISA, flow-through, dipstick, lateral flow, TPPA or the rapid test assay
  • Methods permit determining the stage of syphilis infection (i.e., monitoring disease progression), monitoring of syphilis therapy, or combinations thereof
  • Monitoring and public health surveillance
  • Research tool to study active syphilis infections
  • Rapid test that’s adaptable for automation and high throughput (large scale testing)
  • Method can detect an anti-lipoidal antibody/oxidized complex quantitatively or qualitatively


Arnold Castro (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Himanshu Mody

John Deutsch (CDC)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
US Pat: 8,778,619 issued 2014-07-15
US Pat: 9,081,009 issued 2015-07-14

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: Cardiolipin Modification for Immunoassay Detection of Syphilis. 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-574-2013-0
Updated: Sep 11, 2018