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Commercial Enterprise Unit

Cestode Diagnostics




Cestode Diagnostics is a commercial enterprise unit set up within the Cestode Zoonoses Research Laboratory at the University of Salford and is directly overseen by Professor Philip Craig, who is world renowned for his work on the human/animal parasite Echinococcus and other tapeworms. With the establishment of this venture we aim to provide a unique, accurate and reliable service for scientists, researchers, hospitals, governmental bodies etc with a diagnostic interest in parasitic zoonoses, i.e. parasitic infections transmitted from animals to humans. Based on our reputation and expertise in the field of immunologic and molecular diagnostics of tapeworms, we project that we will re-enforce the uniqueness of our service and the reference status of our laboratory.

The Cestode Zoonoses Research Laboratory is licensed by the UK’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to carry out work on Echinococcus. Funding of research on Echinococcus has come from various external sources since 1992. It is the only laboratory in the UK in possession of an ELISA test for the detection of Echinococcus and Taenia antigens and antibodies. This is made possible through the in-house preparation of hydatid antigen B and tapeworm extracts for use in serological and coproELISA assays respectively. It is already providing this diagnostic service through collaboration with scientists and researchers worldwide. It continues to provide training for researchers working on echinococcosis/hydatidosis and taeniasis/cysticercosis.  


1) To consolidate on our existing reputation and expertise in the field of cestode diagnosis and take that to a service level in setting up a diagnostic research and provision facility for the diagnosis and detection of cestodes to run in parallel with the currently established DEFRA-licensed laboratory.

2) To provide a unique diagnostic service which would encompass both an academic enterprise and a research component.  


The services we intend to provide fall into 3 main categories:  

1) Immunological and molecular diagnostics for the detection of cestode infections e.g. Echinococcus sp. and Taenia sp. using: ELISA for the detection of antibodies in sera of potentially infected individuals; CoproELISA for the detection of Echinococcus and Taenia antigens in faecal supernatants of dogs and humans respectively; specific diagnosis of Echinococcus through the use of  in-house optimised PCR assays for E. granulosus (and strains), E. multilocularis and E. shiquicus using DNA extracted from tissue and faecal samples. In addition we will use our expertise in the field of diagnosis to establish

  • Genotyping of cestode parasites using DNA extracted from parasite tissue or faecal samples. 
  • Relevant PCR assays from published protocols for the detection of intestinal helminths using DNA extracted from faecal samples. 

2) Training: We intend to continue training visiting students and researchers working within the field of cestode parasites in carrying out molecular assays for the detection of these parasites.  

3) Development of specific molecular tests: The optimisation of PCR assays for the specific detection of a given species of parasite to meet the needs of our clients. In future we may even be able to tie these in with companies for commercialisation.       


1) Assisting researchers worldwide in studying the prevalence and epidemiology of cestode parasites.

2) To provide a support and follow-up service through repeat testing of ambiguous samples.

3) Progressive acquisition of parasite material to maintain and expand our existing reference unit.

Link to references.

For more information email or ring Dr. Belgees Boufana on 0161 295 4563