Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Better and faster: Distinguishing non-TB pulmonary disease from TB

A diagnostic kit shows new promise for distinguishing between tuberculosis (TB) and its infections from disease caused by related mycobacteria family, which mimic TB and other lung disease in symptoms but require distinctly different clinical treatments.

The bacterium that causes TB, mycobacteria tuberculosis, comes from a larger family of mycobacteria, certain strains of which can cause lung disease. The most common pathogenic nontubercular mycobacteria are known together as Mycobacterium avium complex, or MAC. Distinguishing MAC-related pulmonary disease (MAC-PD) from TB is difficult, and can take eight weeks or more. Complicating matters, MAC bacteria are ubiquitous in the environment, and a positive culture may mean nothing more than specimen contamination.

Now, researchers have shown in a multi-center study that differentiating MAC-PD from TB can be accomplished in just a few hours using an assay that can identify antibodies specific to MAC.

The research was published in the first issue for April of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, published by the American Thoracic Society.

MAC is responsible for a growing proportion of pulmonary disease, but how much is unclear. “There are more cases being reported,” said Dr. Alvin Teirstein, professor of medicine at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. “We are not sure where it was hiding 25 years ago, but there appears to be a growing epidemic over the last 20 years.”

Up to now, distinguishing between MAC and TB largely relied on a suite of clinical signs and obtaining repeatedly positive sputum cultures—a process that was both unwieldy and often unreliable. “About 20 percent of the time the physician might make the wrong determination,” said Dr. Teirstein.

Furthermore, even though initial diagnosis is uncertain, patients whose sputum is positive for acid-fast bacilli are often immediately isolated and sometimes started on a regimen of anti-TB drugs. Isolating non-TB patients and beginning inappropriate treatment regimens not only drains resources that could be used to treat infectious TB, it is a burden and risk to the patient as well. In contrast to TB, MAC is not contagious and sometimes requires no treatment.

“Diagnosis of pulmonary disease due to MAC is complicated and time-consuming,” wrote Seigo Kitada, lead researcher on the study. “In the context of infection control it is particularly important to distinguish between MAC-PD and pulmonary TB.”

To test the efficacy of the immunoassay kit, the researchers acquired specimens from six centers between June 2003 and December 2005. The samples came from 70 patients with MAC-PD; 18 with MAC contamination, 36 with pulmonary TB, 45 with other lung disease and 76 from healthy patients.

They found that found that serum antibody levels to the MAC-specific antigen were higher in patients with MAC pulmonary disease as compared to those with other respiratory diseases, including tuberculosis. The sensitivity and specificity of the serologic test were 84.3% and 100%, respectively. Equally important, the test, took only hours as opposed to the four to eight weeks it takes to determine conventional culture results.

While Dr. Tierstein points out that to be validated, the kit must perform well with different populations and in different locations, as MAC strains can vary from place to place, this is the first multi-center demonstration of the efficacy of such a kit, raising the hope that it may solve the problem of distinguishing MAC-PD from TB and represents a critical step in increasing the accuracy and efficiency in treating patients with MAC-PD and TB.

Keely Savoie | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia
21.10.2016 | Universitätsklinikum Magdeburg

nachricht New potential cancer treatment using microwaves to target deep tumors
12.10.2016 | University of Texas at Arlington

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>