The New MAP Test

Prof Hermon-Taylor, with Neil Rayment and the team at King’s College London, is currently focusing on completing the tools that are critical for the Vaccine trial. The major part of this work is to complete the development and validation of a new diagnostic test for Mycobacterium avium subspecies paratuberculosis (MAP). MAP is unlike many bacteria which cause human disease and this makes it very difficult to study in the lab. It is a master of disguise! You can’t see it under an ordinary microscope, you can’t reliably grow it, it minimises its own immune recognition, hides inside cells and is very small and tough. With the new test, for the first time ever, it will be possible to see MAP in the blood and tissues of people with Crohn’s Disease. Using a simple blood test it also will be possible to measure and quantify the degree of MAP infection. As with the Vaccine, this research has been made possible by donations from people with Crohn’s disease and their families.

Features of the new MAP Test:

The test is:

  • Accurate – sensitive and specific to just MAP
  • Quantitative – allows MAP infection to be measured
  • Automatable – uses standard laboratory equipment already used by many hospital labs across the world
  • Efficient – quick @15mins and cheap
  • Versatile it can be done on blood or tissue samples, including using retrospective samples from previous biopsies or surgery.

Uses of the new MAP Test:

The test will be used:

  • As an essential ‘partner diagnostic’ test for the human trial of the vaccine. It will be used to determine which patients should be entered into the trial (i.e. only those who are MAP-positive) and to monitor patients’ responses to the vaccine during the trial.
  • As a diagnostic for MAP infection in its own right
  • To help to reduce diagnostic uncertainty in IBD
  • To provide information on levels of disease activity and help reduce repeated colonoscopies for disease monitoring purposes
  • To provide new insights into mechanisms of disease in Crohn’s
  • To shed new light on other conditions, such as IBS, in which MAP is also likely to be involved

The key components of the MAP test are now complete and it is in the early stages of the clinical trial. If you would like to donate via Just Giving, then please click here.

Alternatively, please see our Fundraising tab for other ways to donate.