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Evaluation of Transrenal-DNA Detection to Diagnose Tuberculosis
Framework programme:
Project number:
EC contribution:
€ 2,000,000
36 Months
Starting date:
December 2006

Keywords: Transrenal DNA; Tuberculosis, Diagnosis


Tuberculosis (TB) continues to be a global threat to public health. This is of important social and financial concern to the expanding European Union, as well as a cause of increasing morbidity and mortality rates in much of the developing world. Timely and accurate diagnosis is a critical obstacle to TB control. The currently available diagnostic methods are often insensitive, slow, and/or cumbersome to use. Nucleic acid amplification is the only rapid detection method with proven sensitivity and specificity, but is difficult to implement, in its current format. A method that avoided complex sputum processing and cell lysis steps and that was applicable across multiple amplification formats (e.g. in addition to PCR) would be a tremendous advantage.

There is growing evidence that short DNA fragments arising from human or bacterial cells, dying throughout the body, pass through the renal barrier and appear in urine as transrenal DNA (Tr-DNA). In a preliminary study conducted at the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Rome, it was shown that Tr-DNA from M. tuberculosis was detectable in the urine by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in 100% of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis and that these DNA fragments disappeared following anti-TB drug therapy. TB tr-DNA aims to:

  1. Validate the diagnostic potential of Tr-DNA detection for TB
  2. Optimize and simplify the sample preparation methods
  3. Explore the feasibility of using a diagnostic approach based on this method within a developing world setting.
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