Methods for Detecting and Treating Coccidioides Infections


Researchers at TGen have developed methods for detecting and treating Coccidioides infections (also known as Valley Fever) using novel proteins.  Using these proteins as biomarkers, clinicians can detect this fungal infection from patient samples early in the infection cycle (within the first five days of infection) and implement a targeted treatment, such as augmenting the expression level or functionality of the target proteins.


Coccidioides are fungi found in the soil of semi-arid regions of the Americas, and Valley Fever is commonly caused by inhaling these fungi during the arthroconidial phase. Once inhaled by a host, Coccidioides species carry out a parasitic cycle and within five days can transform into mature rupturing spherules releasing endospores, causing exponential growth of the infection.  Current diagnostic methods have been inadequate for detecting Coccidioides, but detecting and treating Valley Fever early in the infection could mitigate the development of acute or chronic pulmonary disease.


TGen’s researchers identified the novel proteins by examining the first five days of infection in a BALB/c mouse model, a time-period of infection that had not previously been well characterized and when the morphological shift to the parasitic cycle occurs.  Protein expression profiles from samples were determined using mass spectrometry to detect fungal proteins expressed across groups infected by multiple Coccidioides isolates, resulting in the identification of several proteins that occurred in all infection groups.


Link to US Published Patent Application US 2018/0106802 A1

Patent Information:
For Information, Contact:
Katie Bray
Intellectual Property Counsel
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Bridget Barker
Patrick Pirrotte