New markers to monitor TB treatment

Besides treatment, there is an urgent need for monitoring tuberculosis treatment to achieve better results. Researchers from the National Jalma Institute for Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases, have succeeded in identifying a couple of cell-based markers to study the response of TB patients to treatment.Currently, studying the sputum of the patient using microscope is the only tool for treatment monitoring. “Sometimes patients can’t produce sputum, especially children and elderly patients. And when the patient is undergoing treatment also, he does not produce enough sputum. The microscopy method has low sensitivity – it needs atleast 10,000 bacilli/mL to detect properly,” explains Dr. Sonali Agrawal, who completed her PhD from the Institute. She is the first author of the study published in Frontiers in Immunology.The researchers collected blood samples from about 15 individuals, who were newly diagnosed with pulmonary TB and studied the expression of immune cell associated markers – T regulatory markers and Th17 associated markers.

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