WARF: P03278US

White Blood Cell Assay for Determining Risk of Sepsis and Other Inflammatory Disorders


Loren Denlinger, Kirk Hogan, Paul Bertics, Kathleen Schell

The Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation (WARF) is seeking commercial partners interested in developing an assay for identifying individuals with novel genetic mutations related to inflammatory disorders.
OVERVIEWSepsis is a systemic inflammatory response to infection that often leads to low blood pressure, organ failure, and death. Components of Gram-negative bacterial cell walls, such as endotoxin, are a potent trigger of sepsis, and high levels of endotoxin in the blood cause many of its symptoms. The nucleotide receptor P2X7 likely modulates the response of macrophages to endotoxins and may be an indicator of sepsis.
THE INVENTIONUW-Madison researchers have developed a method of rapidly assaying P2X7 pore activity in white blood cells within a sample of whole blood. The white blood cells are labeled and then depolarized in an isotonic depolarizing solution. Next, the cells are mixed with a dye and a P2X7 agonist to activate the pore activity of P2X7. Finally, the cells are mixed with a divalent cation to deactivate P2X7’s pore activity. To quantify P2X7 pore activity, the amount of dye taken up by the labeled cells is compared to the dye uptake in control cells without the P2X7 agonist. The amount of activity may help indicate prognosis and suggest a treatment plan for patients at risk for sepsis or other inflammatory disorders.
  • Identifying individuals with novel genetic mutations related to inflammatory disorders including septic shock, tuberculosis, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and asthma
  • Assists physicians in making rapid prognoses and guiding therapeutic interventions for patients at risk for certain inflammatory disorders
  • Requires much smaller volume of whole blood than current assay
  • Requires only standard equipment and no special lab skills
  • Amenable to automation and high throughput processing
  • More sensitive, reliable and robust than current methods
  • No need to isolate and purify white blood cells
For More Information About the Inventors
Contact Information
For current licensing status, please contact Rafael Diaz at or 608-960-9847.
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