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Cytometry A. 2008 Nov;73(11):1100-6. doi: 10.1002/cyto.a.20614.

How flow cytometry is changing the study of TB immunology and clinical diagnosis.

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Division of Medicine, Brighton and Sussex Medical School, University of Sussex Campus, Brighton BN19PS, United Kingdom.


The application of flow cytometry has hugely advanced the field of tuberculosis (TB) across all areas of research ranging from diagnostic tests to understanding the underlying immunology. As cellular responses are understood to be the mainstay of the immune response in the control of TB it is very likely that polychromatic flow will become the tool of choice for assessing the effects of vaccination. Results are particularly encouraging in this area. The development of a new type of diagnostic test, a prototype of which has been reported, may be the spin-off of a broad and systematic approach to understanding and profiling the T-cell response to TB. It is obvious that flow cytometry will not be able to address all research questions in the field of TB. However, its enormous flexibility as a technology will make it the tool of choice in many situations. An ever increasing availability of flow cytometers, even in resource-poor countries, will rapidly change the face of TB research and management in the years ahead.

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