Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New genomic marker for tuberculosis may help identify patients who will develop the disease

30.08.2010
Study highlights how blood profiling techniques could change patient care

It may soon be possible to identify patients who will develop tuberculosis, as scientists have identified changes in the blood specific to the disease. These findings are from an international study published in the August 19 issue of Nature and conducted by doctors and researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital using blood profiling techniques to understand infections.

Tuberculosis (TB) is caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which usually attacks the lungs and can be fatal if not treated properly. Although TB is no longer a leading cause of death in the United States, it remains an epidemic in much of the world. One third of the world's total population is infected with the microbes that cause TB; however, most people infected with M. tuberculosis remain asymptomatic with latent TB. People with latent TB have a 10 percent lifetime risk of developing active TB, but current tests can not identify which individuals will develop the disease.

"Tools to diagnose infections like TB, bronchiolitis and pneumonia have been developed and are actively used to classify patients as being infected with specific pathogens, but we are still unable to predict how each person is going to react to the infection," said one of the study's authors Octavio Ramilo, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases at Nationwide Children's Hospital. "It's difficult to predict patient outcomes, and this is a real problem."

To combat this problem, Dr. Ramilo and Asuncion Mejias, MD, investigators at the Center for Vaccines and Immunity in The Research Institute at Nationwide Children's Hospital, are using microarray technology to develop blood profiles in patients specific to infectious diseases.

"Each infectious agent, be it a virus or a bacterium, interacts with human immune cells in unique ways by triggering proteins on white blood cells," said Dr. Mejias. "We can identify patterns among the white blood cell's activated proteins and identify a unique 'signature' for each infectious agent."

Drs. Ramilo and Mejias' – also faculty members at The Ohio State University College of Medicine – research has shown that gene expression microarray technology can be used to help develop blood transcriptional signatures.

"This technology allows us to see the whole picture of infection using a single blood sample, which is a really powerful tool for the clinic," said Dr. Mejias.

It's this gene expression microarray technology that allowed an international group of investigators, of which Drs. Ramilo and Mejias are part of, to provide the first complete description of the blood transcriptional signature of TB.

The study examined and compared blood drawn from patients in London, England and Cape Town, South Africa who had active TB, latent TB or who did not have TB. The team developed genome-wide transcriptional profiles for each of the patients and discovered a distinct characteristic, or "signature," of the blood from patients with active TB. X-rays of patients with this signature were consistent with signs of active TB.

"The study shows for the first time that the transcriptional signature in blood correlates with extent of disease in active TB patients," said Dr. Ramilo. "It validates the idea that this transcriptional signature is an accurate marker of TB infection."

The team also found that a subset of latent TB patients had signatures similar to those in active TB patients.

"The signature of active TB, which was observed in 10 to 20 percent of latent TB patients, may identify those individuals who will develop disease, but longitudinal studies are needed to assess this," said Dr. Ramilo.

The transcriptional signature was diminished in active TB patients after two months and completely extinguished by 12 months after treatment.

"These findings suggest that the blood transcriptional signature of active TB patients could be used to monitor how well a patient's treatment is working," said Dr. Ramilo.

Dr. Mejias says that this study highlights the power that gene expression microarray technology could bring to the diagnosis and treatment of infectious diseases, as the blood transcriptional signatures are not limited to TB. Currently, the infectious disease investigators at Nationwide Children's Hospital are developing transcriptional signatures using blood samples obtained from children with broncholitis and pneumonia and plan to correlate findings with clinical outcomes, similar to the recent TB study.

"It seems that we are developing a tool that can not only diagnose infectious diseases, but also indicate severity and eventually predict which patients are at risk for developing advanced symptoms. These capabilities are desperately needed in order to improve how patients recover from infections," said Dr. Ramilo.

Mary Ellen Peacock | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.NationwideChildrens.org

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Bare bones: Making bones transparent
27.04.2017 | California Institute of Technology

nachricht Link Discovered between Immune System, Brain Structure and Memory
26.04.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making lightweight construction suitable for series production

More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.

Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...

Im Focus: Wonder material? Novel nanotube structure strengthens thin films for flexible electronics

Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.

"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...

Im Focus: Deep inside Galaxy M87

The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.

Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...

Im Focus: A Quantum Low Pass for Photons

Physicists in Garching observe novel quantum effect that limits the number of emitted photons.

The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...

Im Focus: Microprocessors based on a layer of just three atoms

Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.

Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Expert meeting “Health Business Connect” will connect international medical technology companies

20.04.2017 | Event News

Wenn der Computer das Gehirn austrickst

18.04.2017 | Event News

7th International Conference on Crystalline Silicon Photovoltaics in Freiburg on April 3-5, 2017

03.04.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Bare bones: Making bones transparent

27.04.2017 | Life Sciences

Study offers new theoretical approach to describing non-equilibrium phase transitions

27.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

From volcano's slope, NASA instrument looks sky high and to the future

27.04.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>