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You are here:   Home  »  Our Research  »  Our Research Studies  »  ISIT TB Study


Study title

A Novel Whole Blood Transcriptomic Signature to Characterise Phenotypes of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis Infection (ISIT-TB)

The unmet need in tackling tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tuberculosis). TB usually affects the lungs, but it can also affect other parts of the body and remains a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Over 9 million new cases of TB are diagnosed each year and despite the availability of effective therapies, there are almost 2 million deaths annually. Although considered a disease of the developing world, TB affects people everywhere. In the UK, there has been a steady increase in the incidence of the disease over the past 20 years and more than 8000 new cases are now diagnosed each year.

The provision of effective care for patients with TB is a longstanding priority for the World Health Organisation. More recently, there has been increasing focus on strategies for disease prevention. We recognise that infection with M.tuberculosis is initially asymptomatic. This is known as Latent TB Infection or LTBI. Individuals with LTBI are at risk of developing TB but this can be prevented with treatment for the infection. Thus, it is possible to prevent TB by establishing programmes of screening that test for LTBI and offer effective treatment to clear the infection.

However, for such screening programmes to be cost-effective, there is a need for tests that can reliably identify people with LTBI who are at significant risk of developing TB in the future. Currently, there are no tests that can distinguish LTBI from active TB disease nor tell us who is most likely to develop active TB disease.

What are the objectives of the study?

In collaboration with National and International partners in Science and Industry we are undertaking a programme of research at Leicester to study responses of the immune system associated with different forms of M.tuberculosis infection. This information will be used to develop patterns of immune response (signatures) that can be used to develop tests which can distinguish LTBI from active TB disease and identify the subgroup of people with LTBI at significant risk of developing TB in the future.

If you would like more information about the study, please contact the NIHR Leicester Respiratory BRU for a copy of the Participant Information Sheet.

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Version 1 - 21Jan15