Researchers publish initial analysis of host proteomic response to TB infection and treatment

4/18/2013

A multi-institute team of researchers led by scientists at SomaLogic announced today the results of a study describing multiple blood-based protein biomarkers that more fully reveal the body’s response to pulmonary tuberculosis (TB) infection and its successful  treatment. Their work, which is based on the application of the SOMAscan™ assay, is published today in the open-access scientific journal PLOS ONE.

Globally, tuberculosis kills 1.4 million a year and infects almost nine million annually, second only to HIV/AIDS. Despite significant research, a full understanding of the biology of TB infection, host response, and drug treatment remains elusive. Such knowledge would help tremendously in the identification of potential new drug or diagnostic targets, and adds to our understanding of the biological processes associated with successful therapy.

“To understand the biology of TB infection and treatment, we surveyed the human proteome to find significant changes in the levels of different blood proteins before and after the intensive phase of TB treatment for active pulmonary TB in patients from Kampala Uganda enrolled in a study led by the Center for Disease Control TB Trials Consortium,” said Urs Ochsner, head of the Infectious Diseases Research Group at SomaLogic, and corresponding author on thePLOS ONE paper. “Our goal was to gain new insights into TB, its treatment, and the healing processes the body uses following effective treatment.”

Among the protein changes identified in this research are several that have not been previously reported to be associated with tuberculosis infection and its treatment. These findings offer an intriguing glimpse into how the human body responds to both the TB organism itself as well as “repair” work following successful treatment. More information can be found in the PLOS ONE manuscript, which is available freely under the journal’s open access policies.

The researchers are currently extending these studies further, as part of a Gates Foundation Tuberculosis Biomarkers grant received last year.