Corporate Banner
Satellite Banner
Technology
Networks
Scientific Communities
 
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article
  News
Return

Genetic Discovery Could Aid Diagnosis of Childhood TB

Published: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Last Updated: Thursday, May 01, 2014
Bookmark and Share
A distinctive genetic 'signature' found in the blood of children with TB offers new hope for improved diagnosis of the disease.

TB is very difficult to diagnose in children and is often recognised late when the child is already critically ill and the disease has spread from the lungs to the brain or other organs. Now an international team of researchers has shown that the disease can be identified in over 80 percent of cases by looking at 51 specific genes in the blood of affected children.

The researchers hope the findings - published on 30 April in the New England Journal of Medicine - could be used to develop a cheap, quick and effective diagnostic test.

Lead researcher, Professor Michael Levin, Director of the Wellcome Centre for Clinical Tropical Medicine at Imperial College London, explained: "We urgently need better methods to diagnose TB in children, so treatment can be started earlier and to avoid unnecessary treatment of children who are wrongly diagnosed. The symptoms of TB in children are common to many other childhood diseases, and the standard tests used on adults are not effective in children. Although the disease is treatable, thousands of children still die each year due to late diagnosis and many more are left with damage to their brain, bones and lungs." 

The study - funded through the EU and carried out at Wellcome Trust-supported units in Africa -looked at over 2,800 children admitted to hospitals in South Africa, Malawi and Kenya with symptoms of TB. The researchers identified those who had proven TB and those in whom TB was excluded as the cause of the child's illness.

Blood samples from the South African and Malawian children were examined to see which genes were activated or suppressed in those with the disease. The researchers found that TB could be distinguished from other diseases by looking at just 51 genes from over 30,000 in the human genome and seeing whether they were activated or suppressed. This information was used to give a single TB risk score for each child which, when tested in the Kenyan patients, accurately diagnosed over 80 percent of the children with TB.

Professor Levin said: "It has taken seven years and the combined efforts of clinicians and scientists in the UK, Africa and Singapore to identify this gene signature of childhood TB. What we now need is collaboration from biotechnology and industrial partners to turn these findings into a simple, rapid and affordable test for TB that can be used in hospitals worldwide."

According to World Health Organisation (WHO) statistics, TB is second only to HIV/AIDS as the greatest killer worldwide due to a single infectious agent. A significant proportion of TB cases worldwide are children. An estimated 530,000 children became ill with TB in 2012 and 74,000 HIV-negative children died of TB.

Professor Brian Eley from the University of Cape Town, who led the clinical study in South Africa, said: "Childhood TB is a major problem in African hospitals. An accurate test for childhood TB would be an enormous breakthrough, enabling earlier diagnosis, reducing long hospital admissions for investigation of TB suspects, and limiting the number of children treated inappropriately." 

Dr Suzanne Anderson from Brighton and Sussex Medical School, who led recruitment in Malawi, said: "This study has highlighted the benefit of research institutions in Europe collaborating with hospitals in Africa to apply sophisticated technology to major public health problems."


Further Information

Join For Free

Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 3,000+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More Than 4,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters


Sign In



Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into TechnologyNetworks.com you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Related Content

The Brain on LSD: New Scans Show How the Drug Affects the Brain
Researchers at Imperial College London have visualised the effects of LSD on the brain.
Tuesday, April 12, 2016
Cost of Diabetes Hits 825 Billion Dollars a Year
The global cost of diabetes is now 825 billion dollars per year, according to the largest ever study of diabetes levels across the world.
Thursday, April 07, 2016
World's Obese Population Hits 640 Million
More than one in ten men and one in seven women across the globe are now obese, according to the world's biggest obesity study.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Interactive Maps Reveal Global Obesity
World’s obese population hits 640 million, according to largest ever study.
Friday, April 01, 2016
Switching Off Cancers' Ability to Spread
A key molecule in breast and lung cancer cells can help switch off the cancers' ability to spread around the body.
Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Bacterial Motors Unveiled
Nanoscopic 3D imaging has revealed how different bacteria have geared their tiny propeller motors for a wide range of swimming abilities.
Thursday, March 17, 2016
New App Advises and Reminds Pregnant Women About Vaccinations
Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a new app to guide and remind pregnant women about vaccines recommended during pregnancy.
Saturday, March 12, 2016
Infant Milk Formula Does Not Reduce Risk of Eczema and Allergies, Says New Study
Researchers at Imperial College London have found a type of baby formula does not reduce allergy risk - despite previous claims to the contrary.
Wednesday, March 09, 2016
Too Many Avoidable Errors in Patient Care, Says Report
Researchers at Imperial College London have launched the reports in which provide evidence on the current state of patient safety and how it could be improved the future.
Tuesday, March 08, 2016
Big and Small Numbers are Processed in Different Sides of the Brain
Researchers at Imperial College London have suggested that the small numbers are processed in the right side of the brain, while large numbers are processed in the left side of the brain.
Saturday, March 05, 2016
Fossil Find Reveals Just How Big Carnivorous Dinosaur May Have Grown
Researchers at imperial college London have said that an unidentified fossilised bone in a museum has revealed the size of a fearsome Abelisaur and may solve a hundred-year-old puzzle.
Tuesday, March 01, 2016
Bee Brains as You Have Never Seen them Before
Researchers at Imperial College London have found in new study that the Bumblebee brains in unprecedented detail using new techniques in micro-CT imaging.
Thursday, February 25, 2016
Iron in the Blood Could Cause Cell Damage
Concentrations of iron similar to those delivered through standard treatments can trigger DNA damage within 10 minutes, when given to cells in the laboratory.
Friday, February 12, 2016
Head Injury Patients have Protein Clumps Associated with Alzheimer’s Disease
Scientists have revealed that protein clumps associated with Alzheimer's disease are also found in the brains of people who have had a head injury.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Exposure to Air Pollution 30 Years Ago Associated with Increased Risk of Death
Exposure to air pollution more than 30 years ago may still affect an individual's mortality risk today, according to new research from Imperial College London.
Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Scientific News
AACR 2016: Cancer Immunotherapy and Beyond
At this year's meeting there was a palpable buzz around subjects ranging from microbiomics to the tumor microenvironment and cancer vaccines, big data to in vitro and in vivo modeling and drug delivery (to name just a few).
How Skeletal Stem Cells Form The Blueprint Of The Face
USC researchers discover that two types of molecular signals work to control where and when stem cells turn into facial cartilage.
Intestinal Worms Boost Immune System In A Surprising Way
EPFL researchers find that intestinal worm infections cause lymph nodes to produce more immune cells as well as grow in size.
Measuring The Airborne Toxicants Urban Bicyclists Inhale
Researchers analyze breath biomarkers to measure uptake of volatile organic compounds by bicyclists.
Breast Milk Hormones Impact Bacteria In Infants’ Guts
Intestinal microbiome of children born to obese mothers significantly different from those born to mothers of healthy weight, CU Anschutz researchers find.
Newborn Screening Test Developed For Rare, Deadly Neurological Disorder
Scientists have developed a new dried blood spot screening test for Niemann-Pick type C, with goal to speed diagnosis and treatment.
'Kidney on a Chip' Facilitates Safer Drug Dosing
University of Michigan researchers have used a "kidney on a chip" device to mimic the flow of medication through human kidneys and measure its effect on kidney cells.
New Autism Blood Biomarker Identified
Researchers at UT Southwestern Medical Center have identified a blood biomarker that may aid in earlier diagnosis of children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD.
New Method Allows First Look At Embryo Implantation
Researchers at The Rockefeller University develop a method that shows the molecular and cellular processes that occur up to day 14 after fertilization.
Shining A Light On Bladder Cancer
Researchers scrutinize patterns of mutations in bladder tumor genomes, gleaning insights into the roles of DNA repair and tobacco-related DNA damage.
Scroll Up
Scroll Down
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
 
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
3,000+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
4,500+ scientific videos
Close
Premium CrownJOIN TECHNOLOGY NETWORKS PREMIUM FOR FREE!