Tuberculosis is a major killer that ranks alongside HIV/AIDS as a leading cause of death worldwide. This deadly disease takes the lives of more than a million people each year. And, unfortunately, traditional medical laboratory testing using X-rays, blood/skin/sputum specimens, or the new molecular diagnostic systems can be time consuming and expensive.
Now, scientists at George Mason University (GMU) in Virginia have developed a urine test for tuberculosis (TB) that could lead to a dip-stick technology that would accurately and rapidly diagnose the deadly lung disease. Similar to a pregnancy test, if successfully developed for use in clinical settings, the dip-stick could not only enable public health agencies to test for TB more effectively, but also allow primary care physicians and other doctors to easily test their patients for TB at the point of care. However, it also could mean clinical laboratories might find their participation…
Nearly All TB Deaths Occur in Resource Strapped Areas
Such a breakthrough would certainly be a boon to public health and global healthcare, especially in resource strapped areas of the world. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than 95% of the 1.7 million TB deaths each year occur in low- and middle-income countries. This is one reason why an inexpensive and easy-to-use detection method for diagnosing the lung disease has long been sought. TB is curable, particularly if diagnosed early.
With that goal in mind, an international team led by Alessandra Luchini, PhD, Associate Professor at GMU, and Lance Liotta, PhD, MD, co-director and co-founder of the GMU Center for Applied Proteomics and Molecular Medicine, developed the potentially revolutionary urine test that uses nanotechnology to measure a sugar molecule in urine that identifies TB with a high degree of accuracy. The scientists published their results in Science Translational Magazine… Continue reading.