ToeFX announces new partnership with McMaster University

ToeFX is driven by innovation. The vision of our science team is to create the world’s most effective foot care treatments. As such, we continually conduct research to improve our understanding of one of the world’s most stubborn and prevalent infections – onychomycosis.  In order to treat even the most complex cases of onychomycosis, we need to take a holistic treatment approach – from diagnostics to follow-up.  One area of intense focus for ToeFX is diagnostics.

We are excited to announce that starting this autumn, we are launching a new collaboration with Professor Jianping Xu from the McMaster University. The goal of this project is to devise a faster, more reliable diagnostics tool and to create a cost-effective rapid diagnostic or diagnostic support test for onychomycosis. At the moment, onychomycosis diagnostic methods are difficult to access with low sensitivity and require a high quantity of toenail sample to process.  The high rate of false negatives is also a serious concern.

Our vision is to create a PCR diagnostic tool based on similar principles used for COVID-19 diagnostics. We will start by creating a specific “primer” (short single-stranded DNA sequence) for the most common fungus causing onychomycosis. Here is how it works:

Step 1: Denaturation

As in DNA replication, the two strands in the DNA double helix need to be separated.

Step 2: Annealing

Primers bind to the target DNA sequences and initiate polymerisation.

Step 3: Extension

New strands of DNA are made using the original strands as templates.

The cycle is repeated many times (usually 20–30), as most processes using PCR need large quantities of DNA. It only takes 2–3 hours to get a billion or so copies.

We want to help the millions of people hiding their feet to “show off their toenails” with confidence. Our commitment to our partner clinicians and their patients is to provide innovative, high-quality products that really work.  Our hope is that a reliable diagnostic will help clinicians give better diagnoses for their patients suffering from onychomycosis.