Il-18 as a Cardiac Biomarker in Sickle Cell Anemia

Technology #ua16-199

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Ankit Desai
Assistant Professor, Medicine
Managed By
Lisa Lin
Licensing Manager (520) 626-6969

Title: Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Therapeutic Uses of Targeting IL-18 for Sickle Cell Disease


Invention: The invention is the use of IL-18 and single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) associated with it as diagnostic and prognostic markers for myocardial fibrosis, ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death in patients with sickle cell disease. IL-18 is also a potential therapeutic target for preventing sudden death in sickle cell disease patients.


Background: Cardiovascular manifestations and sudden death are the top causes of premature death in sickle cell disease patients. These factors contribute to the plateauing of the average life expectancy of these patients in their 40s over the past two decades. The inventor has found that IL-18 level and its associated SNPs can predict prolonged QTc, a known risk factor for polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, and sudden death in sickle cell disease. Anti-IL-18 therapy reduces ventricular arrythmia in SCD animal models. In an effort to fulfill the need for specific measures to detect the presence of cardiac diseases in SCD patients, the technology presented here employs IL-18 as a diagnostic and prognostic marker for their cardiovascular manifestations and anti-IL-18 could be a potential therapeutic for the indication.



  • Diagnostic/prognostic assay for cardiovascular complications in patients with sickle cell disease.
  • Potential to expand into a companion diagnostic for patients with sickle cell disease for anti-IL-18 therapy. 
  • Potential for development into a therapeutic for sickle cell disease patients.



  • Identify the risk of developing fatal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death in SCD and maybe also sickle cell trait population.
  • Potentially a companion diagnostic with a therapeutic using the same target for sickle cell disease patients.


Licensing Manager: 

Lisa Lin

(520) 626-6969