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Free Content Enabling biomarkers for tuberculosis control [State of the Art Series. New tools. Number 3 in the series]

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Accelerated control of tuberculosis (TB) requires better control measures. Biomarkers, which reliably diagnose active TB or even predict risk of disease progression in individuals, could facilitate rapid diagnosis and treatment of TB patients and allow preventive measures for latently infected individuals with a high risk of TB. Moreover, biomarkers could speed up clinical trials with novel drug and vaccine candidates. Three platforms of global biomarker profiling will be described, with an emphasis on the most recent achievements: transcriptomics, proteomics and metabolomics. Moreover, we will discuss the need for computational analyses to make the best use of the plethora of data generated by biomarker research. Aside from their potential prognostic and diagnostic value, biomarkers could provide deeper insight into pathological processes underlying disease, and hence form the basis for novel intervention measures that target host molecules and pathways. We propose that biosignatures, which discriminate active TB from both latent infection and uninfected status, as well as from other diseases, will become available within the next decade. However, simple, low-cost biomarker-based point-of-care diagnosis will probably not be achieved in the next few years.
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Keywords: TB diagnosis; computational biology; metabolomics; proteomics; transcriptomics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Immunology, Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin, Germany

Publication date: 01 September 2012

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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