Diagnostic Technologies

About the Diagnostics Program

The Diagnostics Program at PATH has a long history of delivering impactful technology solutions in the global health arena.

With expertise in product development, technology evaluations in the field, and business collaborations with leading diagnostics companies, the group’s multifunctional set of skills and resources span the entire value chain. This includes a Biosafety Level 2 development laboratory; deep competency in user needs assessment; and team members dedicated to clinical field evaluations, project management, product introduction, and commercialization.

PATH’s work in the Diagnostics Program is supported by an array of donors ranging from the National Institution of Health, to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, to small Foundations and direct donor support to PATH.  All of our donors make it possible for us to invent new health technologies, help governments and businesses build systems that people can depend on, and inspire individuals to protect their own and their families’ health.


Our portfolios

The Diagnostics Program, led by Tala de los Santos, is organized around a group of portfolios based on disease areas with the highest need for diagnostics in global health. Each portfolio is led by a senior staff member in the Diagnostics Program, responsible for subject matter expertise, strategic oversight of the projects within their disease domain, and collaborative initiatives across programs at PATH. The purpose of the portfolio structure is to align with our funders and leading global health initiatives, as well as to coordinate among related projects and common stakeholders.

While the portfolio areas are separate in disease-specific knowledge, the personnel within the Diagnostics Program routinely work across portfolios. Competencies such as field work, commercialization, as well as many technical platforms are applicable to all the diseases that we work with.


HIV/STIs

Led by Dr. Gonzalo Domingo, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus/Sexually-Transmitted Infections (HIV/STIs) portfolio is concerned primarily with HIV/AIDS-related diagnostics but also with other prominent and often co-morbid STIs. Syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis, and other diseases are responsible for significant suffering in low-resource countries. In particular, these diseases are critical reproductive health issues by which the Diagnostics Program is able to leverage other PATH programs, such as the HIV/Tuberculosis (TB), Maternal and Child Health, and Reproductive Health Global Programs.

Priority initiatives involve HIV case detection, HIV care and monitoring, HIV co-morbidities, HIV/STI diagnostics auxiliary needs, and maternal health.


Noncommunicable diseases

The newest portfolio in the Diagnostics Program is directed toward the diagnosis of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in the poorest regions of the world. Four NCDs are responsible for an incredible amount of morbidity: cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and chronic respiratory disease. These diseases suffer relative to infectious diseases in that while they have massive impact on the developing world, the perception is that they are primarily problems of the developed world.

The initial focus of this portfolio is on supporting the control of diabetes through the integration of low-resource-friendly screening technologies, glycemic monitoring, and risk scoring.  A similar approach moving forward is being applied to all NCDs, including breast cancer screening and TB/diabetes co-morbidities.


Neglected tropical diseases

Tala de los Santos leads the neglected tropical diseases (NTD) portfolio, which addresses the diagnostic gaps in a broad range of infectious diseases that disproportionately affect the developing world. Devastating but treatable diseases such as Chagas, onchocerciasis, lymphatic filariasis, and schistosomiasis cause disability and suffering on a major scale. Under the NTD portfolio we seek to improve access to diagnostic tools for these diseases. A primary focus is the support of global elimination programs where current tools are not sensitive or cost-effective enough to effectively contribute to post-elimination surveillance efforts.


Malaria

Led by Dr. Gonzalo Domingo, the malaria portfolio is focused on three areas: improving global access to standard diagnostic tests to support case management, supporting global malaria elimination initiatives through disease surveillance, and managing malaria through genetic testing to direct proper treatment regimens. The portfolio leverages its relationships with PATH’s Malaria Control Partnership and the World Health Organization to facilitate diagnostic solutions where they are most needed.


Tuberculosis

The TB portfolio is led by Dr. David Boyle, co-author of the UNITAID Tuberculosis Diagnostic Technology and Market Landscape report – 4th Edition. The TB portfolio is concerned not only with the development of diagnostic assays, but also with the challenges of quality control and sample processing related to the diagnosis of the disease. The strategic area focus is to evaluate, develop, and implement diagnostic assays and supporting tools.

Strategic areas within TB that are of highest concern include field assessments of TB screening technologies, TB and diabetes co-morbidity, drug-resistance testing, sample processing and DNA extraction tools, tools for quality reference standards in TB testing, and DNA amplification tools.

 


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