Hosting the MRC SHIP TB biomarker meeting

29 June 2015

Participants at the TB biomarker meeting included: Front (L-R) : Dr Andre Loxton (SUN-IRG), Rizwana Mia (MRC), Dr Christina Thobakgale (HPP/CAPRISA), Dr Kogie Naidoo (CAPRISA), Dr Novel Chegou (SUN-IRG), Dr Aishe Sivno (CAPRISA), Dr Nesri Padayatchi (CAPRISA) . Back (L-R): Dr Roxana Rustomjee (MRC), Dr Mark Hatherill, SATVI, Dr Gerhard Walzl (SUN-IRG), Ms Leya Hassanally (SATVI), Dr Tom Scriba (SATVI), Dr Lyle Mckinnon (CAPRISA), Dr Daniel Zak (CIDR formerly Seattle Biomed), Dr Adam Penn-Nicholson (SATVI), and Dr Navisha Dookie (CAPRISA).

Drs Kogie Naidoo, Head of HIV and TB Treatment, and Nesri Padayatchi, Deputy Director of CAPRISA, hosted the 2nd Annual Investigators Meeting of the MRC Strategic Health Innovation Partnerships (SHIP) TB Biomarker consortium with researchers from the University of Cape Town’s South African Tuberculosis Vaccine Initiative (SATVI), Stellenbosch University’s Immunology Research Group (SUN-IRG), Seattle’s Centre for Infectious Disease Research (CIDR) and CAPRISA.

This multi-institutional team has been awarded three years of funding for a systems immunology project that aims to identify and validate correlates of risk of TB disease, treatment success or recurrent TB disease, and to improve understanding on the biology of TB pathogenesis from latent to active TB disease. The project is leveraging new opportunities for biomarker discovery and validation from a number of completed and currently active clinical studies in South Africa. Valuable specimens from HIV-uninfected or HIV-infected persons at risk of TB disease, those who have been diagnosed with TB and are on TB treatment or who are at risk of recurrent TB have been or are being analysed in various sub-studies to address the project objectives.

The group reviewed early project results, deliberated about the proposed next steps and approaches and much discussion revolved around how best to account for degree of immunocompromise in case/control matching in HIV-infected populations. A number of very exciting scientific questions are being addressed that enhance our knowledge of TB immunopathogenesis and inform development of new tests for TB diagnosis, predicting incident TB, monitoring TB treatment and predicting recurrent TB.