Adobe Stock 304066678 03

Nu.Q® NETs

Monitoring the immune system to save lives.

Click here to view more

The immune system can be both friend and foe; a potent protective force that sometimes overreacts, damaging the body’s own cells and tissues in the process. We have developed a test that could help identify people at high risk of poor outcomes caused by an abnormal immune response to disease.

The immune system is comprised of many different types of white blood cell with different functions. The most abundant cells are neutrophils, which serve as the first line of defense. When they detect bacteria, viruses, injuries, or other threats these cells produce Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs)—sticky webs made of long strings of nucleosomes that stop the threat from spreading around the body.

Elevated levels of NETs are a complicating factor associated with poor patient outcomes in COVID-19, sepsis, cancer, and a range of other diseases.

As NETs contain nucleosomes, our proprietary Nu.Q® nucleosome assays have been shown to detect NETs in minute quantities.

Introducing Nu.Q® NETS

Nu.Q® NETs is a groundbreaking CE-marked diagnostic solution that clinicians can use to detect NETosis. Our assay can be used to identify patients with clinically relevant elevated levels of circulating NETs and enable physicians to rapidly treat these patients.

Nu.Q® NETs will support clinical decision-making, enabling physicians to act quickly, improving patient outcomes and patient management. It is registered for use in Europe in both ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) and automated ChLIA (ChemiLuminescence ImmunoAssay) formats.

We are currently working with teams at four major hospitals across the UK and France, undertaking studies to test our technology as a diagnostic aid for sepsis and COVID-19, to monitor disease progression and treatment response.

We are also working with Santersus, which has in development a transformational technology that cleanses blood of NETs as a sepsis treatment. They used Nu.Q® NETs within an animal study to measure treatment response and have moved to their first human trial, with results due shortly.

“NETs are such a critical part of the inflammation pathway, they are relevant in any inflammatory disease, whether that's thrombosis, COVID-19, sepsis, cancer, and transplants. The unique and powerful potential of measuring them – and potentially reducing them – could really empower human health.”

Dr Andrew Aswani, Consultant in Intensive Care Medicine and Anesthesia at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

The focus on sepsis due to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated our research on NETs

  • COVID-19

    Triage and Monitoring

    In collaboration with other parties, we recently published evidence that the level of circulating NETs, as measured using Nu.Q® NETs assays, correlates with current disease severity and mortality in COVID-19 patients.

    Further, a recent study shows that our NETs-based tests could be used to predict future disease severity and guide treatment selection in patients, on admission. We are also following COVID-19 patients’ NETs levels during their illness and recovery.

  • Sepsis

    Monitoring Sepsis Treatment

    We have obtained proof-of-concept for Nu.Q® NETs as an effective test to monitor response to a novel treatment for sepsis. Our collaborators on this project, Santersus AG, are developing a therapy that takes the patient’s blood outside of their body, removes excess NETs, and recirculates the blood back into the body. Our Nu.Q® NETs assays monitor the level of NETs in the blood and are a key part of the ongoing trials of this exciting potential new therapy.

    Triage and Monitoring

    COVID-19 sepsis is clinically similar to sepsis caused by other infections. We are therefore applying everything we learn from our COVID-19 research to trials of our Nu.Q® NETs tests in other forms of sepsis.

  • Other Conditions

    Inflammation and Vascular Damage

    The levels of NETs that are detected during sepsis are dramatically elevated, but more subtle increases are also seen in non-infectious diseases characterized by inflammation or vascular damage. We are engaged in a number of research collaborations in this area, and recently published findings from a study of NETs-based biomarkers for pregnancy complications.

    Cancer

    There is evidence that cancer cells can use NETs to evade the body’s immune system as they move to new sites through the bloodstream. Nu.Q® NETs tests therefore have significant potential in clinical oncology, for example to monitor for metastatic disease in high-risk individuals, or to provide an early assessment of whether a treatment is working. We are currently investigating multiple potential avenues for clinical test development in this field.