Office of Technology Transfer – University of Michigan

Primary Aldosteronism Molecular Diagnostic

Technology #6338

High blood pressure affects over 970 million people worldwide. Of these, over 38 million are expected to have primary aldosteronism (PA), a medication resistant form of high blood pressure that requires special treatment. With currently over 3 million patients domestically, the US incidence of PA is expected to increase as the population grows older and heavier. Current methods for diagnosing PA are inefficient, often requiring secondary screens to confirm results. This technology is a minimally invasive molecular diagnostic for PA, providing doctors with a simple screening tool for PA as well as a method for determining the efficacy of treatment.

New Molecular Diagnostic for Primary Aldosteronism

PA is classified by over activation of the mineralocorticoid receptor (MR) thought to occur through increased levels of circulating aldosterone. Studies aimed at diagnosing PA have found aldosterone levels alone to be a poor indicator of PA due to alternative modes of MR activation. This invention utilizes RT-PCR to quantify the downstream products of the MR in order to determine MR activity and diagnose PA. Similarly MR activity can be screened to determine the efficacy of treatment by MR antagonists. Molecular targets can be identified from either urine or plasma samples, requiring only minimally invasive screening of the patient.

Applications

  • New diagnostic for leading cause of medication resistant hypertension.
  • New targets for screening mineralocorticoid receptor activation.
  • New diagnostic for testing efficacy of mineralocorticoid receptor antagonist therapy.

Advantages

  • Unlike current screening methods does not require patients to stop medication for screen.
  • Quantitative assay, easily reports activation level of mineralocorticoid receptor.
  • Minimally invasive screening method.