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A direct, high throughput assay for Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs)

Neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs) are immunogenic, extracellular DNA structures that harness important auto-antigens to be recognized by the adaptive immune system. Recent evidence suggests that NETs have a role in a number of noninfectious diseases, including systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ANCA-associated vasculitis (AAV), diabetes, atherosclerosis and cancer. However, it is still unclear how and if NETs act as a common pathway in the pathophysiology of these clinically divergent autoimmune diseases. The exact role of NETs in these diseases remains to be elucidated and one limiting factor has been the lack of a well-defined assay to quantify NET formation. NETs are thought to play a role in the initiation of many noninfectious conditions, and, in combination with imaging NET production, this opens up the possibility of new therapies.

Technology Overview:
Researchers at LUMC have developed a direct, high throughput assay to quantifying NETs and are using this assay to study SLE and AAV patients. The assay directly visualizes and quantifies the amount of NETs produced on any given stimulus. The group at LUMC has a particular interest in autoimmune diseases, such as AAV and SLE). Any autoimmune diseases consist of periods of remission followed by episodes of disease activity (more about research and groups expertise can be found at

As the assay combines immunohistochemistry with quantification of extracellular DNA it provides an accurate assay that can be scaled up for high throughput.

Potential applications

This assay could be used as

  • Diagnostic/ predictive test
  • Clinical test of disease activity
  • Ex vivo test for screening potential drugs

Further background:

Development stage

The researchers are seeking partners/collaborators who are interested in helping them develop and market this assay for clinical application and drug screening.

Luris reference number


Patent status

Published PCT application WO2017/055604

Further information

Jofey Chadwick Knowledge Broker (LUMC Div. 1/2) +31-71-527 2689 +31-6-1474 7861