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New genomic marker for tuberculosis may help identify patients who will develop the disease
Date:8/29/2010

fy 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 u
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Contact: Mary Ellen Peacock
MaryEllen.Peacock@NationwideChildrens.org
614-355-0495
Nationwide Children's Hospital
Source:Eurekalert

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