Research & Innovation 2015-16 - Page 61



Feature
Dr Helen Fletcher, from the London School of Hygiene
and Tropical Medicine, said: “For the first time, we have
some evidence of how BCG might work – and also,
what could block it from working. Although there is still
much work to do, these findings may bring us a step
closer to developing a more effective vaccine for TB.”
The research paper T cell activation is an Immune
Correlate of Risk in BCG vaccine infants was
published in Nature Communications.
(Download media statement.) By SATVI . Image by
Yale Rosen, Flickr.
The team is continuing its work to develop a new and
improved TB vaccine, with the aim of protecting more
people from the disease.
Inflammatory proteins offer insights
into how TB spreads in the lungs
Two scientists at UCT have found proteins in the
body that help the bacteria that cause TB to spread.
“Our research looked at one component of the
immune system, and found that there were proteins
in the body that promote lung inflammation –
which helps the bacteria that cause TB to spread
throughout the lung,“ report Hlumani Ndlovu, senior
postdoctoral fellow in TB Immunopathogenesis, and
Mohlopheni Marakalala, senior lecturer and group
leader in the Division of Immunology.
“Now that we have identified the proteins associated
with disease progression, the next step is to find the
drugs that will inhibit these proteins, and limit lung
inflammation.“ Read more.
Image by Michael Hammond.
Low-cost urine test reduces HIV-associated TB
death rate
A UCT-led clinical study on a urine test able to diagnose TB in
severely ill HIV patients has led to a call for its immediate use
in public health programmes, because it has the potential to
save lives.
In a randomised controlled trial of the LAM urine test in 2 600
patients in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia and Tanzania, the
study evaluated the usefulness of using the simple diagnostic test
(similar to a urine pregnancy test) to guide treatment in severely
ill HIV-infected patients with suspected TB. The test – which can be
conducted by a minimally trained healthcare worker, at the bedside –
results in a diagnosis in around 25 minutes, simply from putting a few
drops of urine on a low-cost test strip.
“Using a randomised controlled trial design, the study found that compared
to existing tests and approaches used to guide treatment, the LAM test reduced
the TB death rate in hospitals by almost 20%. Significantly, these were results obtained
using a rapid, simple-to-use, low-cost bedside test,“ comments Professor Keertan Dheda,
the study’s lead investigator. Read more.
Image by Alere Inc via Discovery Medicine.
Good health and well-being 56

T cell activation is an Immune Correlate of Risk in BCG vaccine infants T cell activation is an Immune Correlate of Risk in BCG vaccine infantsmedia statementFlickrRead moreRead moreDiscovery Medicine





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