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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2014 Dec 4;5(4). pii: a018515. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a018515.

Clinical immunology and multiplex biomarkers of human tuberculosis.

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DST/NRF Centre of Excellence for Biomedical TB Research/MRC Centre for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Division of Molecular Biology and Human Genetics, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Stellenbosch University, Tygerberg 7505, South Africa.
Department of Infectious Diseases, Leiden University Medical Center, 2300 RC Leiden, The Netherlands.


The discovery of tuberculosis (TB) biomarkers is an important goal in current TB research, because the availability of such markers would have significant impact on TB prevention and treatment. Correlates of protection would greatly facilitate vaccine development and evaluation, whereas correlates of TB disease risk would facilitate early diagnosis and help installing early or preventive treatment. Currently, no such markers are available. This review describes several strategies that are currently being pursued to identify TB biomarkers and places these in a clinical context. The approaches discussed include both targeted and untargeted hypothesis-free strategies. Among the first are the measurements of specific biomarkers in antigen-stimulated peripheral blood, in serum or plasma, and detailed immune cell phenotyping. Among the latter are proteomic, genomic, and transcriptomic (mRNA, miRNA) approaches. Recent and promising developments are described.

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