Through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program at NIEHS, we initiated a research project for the development of a laboratory assay that would allow for the simultaneous analysis of multiple samples for multiple indoor allergens.
We encouraged potential contractors to consider the adaptation of existing bead-based, multiplex array systems to the analysis of allergens. In 2004, the contract for both Phase I and Phase II development of the assay was awarded.
The Phase I project, entitled "Fluorescent Multiplex Array for Indoor Allergens", was completed in December of 2004. In Phase I, a multiplex assay that could simultaneously measure five indoor allergens was developed and validated against the traditional ELISA. Correlations between the assays were very good, and currently, Phase II work is underway.
The objective of Phase II is to expand the multiplex for at least 15 indoor allergens and to extend the technology to provide better measures of fungi. Once the new assay is commercially available, we believe it will have a tremendous impact on research involving indoor allergens.