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The Forsyth Institute receives Grand Challenges tuberculosis biomarkers grant

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., − The Forsyth Institute announced today that it will receive a tuberculosis (TB) biomarkers grant through the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Grand Challenges in Global Health program, an initiative which seeks to overcome persistent bottlenecks in creating new tools that can radically improve health in the developing world. Antonio Campos-Neto, MD, PhD, Head of the Global Infectious Disease Research Center at Forsyth will pursue an innovative research project to identify and validate TB biomarkers, titled "Validation of the diagnostic utility of Mtb protein biomarkers found in urine of TB patients".

The Grand Challenges TB biomarkers program provides funding for groundbreaking research into TB biomarkers for the development of a low-cost, simple to use tool that can quickly and accurately diagnose TB in developing countries.

"There is an urgent need to break through barriers in biomarker research in order to develop a highly-sensitive point-of-care diagnostic to improve identification of active TB cases," said Chris Wilson, Director of Global Health Discovery at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "We hope these innovative ideas lead to effective and affordable TB diagnostics that can make an impact on one of the world's deadliest infectious diseases."

Dr. Campos-Neto's project is one of ten Grand Challenges TB biomarkers grants announced today.

Dr. Campos-Neto is working on the development of an antigen detection assay for the diagnosis of TB based on a single urine sample. His research focuses on the diagnosis of active TB through a technique that could be similar to a simple home-pregnancy test. Current diagnostic tests for TB have several shortcomings. Traditional TB tests focus on the direct identification of the infectious agent in the sputum of patients with active disease, which typically occurs when the patient presents with a persistent cough. These tests have limited sensitivity and are time-consuming, in some cases requiring up to six weeks to collect and examine samples. The test that Dr. Campos-Neto hopes to develop will overcome the challenges of existing tests and will accurately diagnose active TB.

The immediate goal of the project is to validate seven proteins of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (the agent of TB) as biomarkers of active disease. This work will be done in collaboration with Dr. David Duffy, Quanterix Corp, Cambridge, Mass., and Dr. Nira Pollock, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Boston, Mass.


Contact: Jennifer Kelly
Forsyth Institute

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