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  • Writer's pictureCARE Project

Improving TB diagnostics

Ahead of this year’s World Tuberculosis Day (24 March), we publish an interview with CARE TB researchers - Andrei Maryandyshev and Elena Khimova from Northern State Medical University (Arkhangelsk, Russia).

Project participants from left to right Rodin M.I., PhD, Eliseev P.I., Khimova E.S. and prof. Maryandyshev A.O.

What is your role in the project and what motivated you to join it?

Andrei Maryandyshev: I am head of the regional component of CARE tuberculosis research in the Russian Federation.

We were highly motivated to join the innovative research conducted by the CARE consortium. The opportunity to participate in an international study is always attractive, since the outcomes of the research will be discussed with highly professional international scientists, and the results will have a chance to be published in prestigious scientific journals. Also, the opportunity to use scientific research to develop a new TB diagnostics product inspires us to work daily, without pausing.

Elena Khimova: I am one of the staff responsible for the technical implementation of the project at the Northern State Medical University and the Arkhangelsk Clinical Tuberculosis Dispensary.

The motivation and working atmosphere are always set by our supervisor (Andrey Maryandyshev), who is the first to be inspired by new projects. The key and main motive for participating in this project is the introduction of new tools for TB diagnostics, the expansion of diagnostic capabilities for the individual patient within the framework of personalized medicine and understanding the fundamentals of disease development. In my opinion, this is the main task of science in general.

What makes this project unique in your opinion?

Andrei Maryandyshev: The project brings together leading specialists from various universities in Europe in fundamental research collaboration. The TB diagnostics work package is led by one of the world's most respected researchers in the field of laboratory tuberculosis diagnosis, Professor Francis Drobniewski. The development of new biomarker-based diagnostic methods is considered the most promising approach according to World Health Organization experts. The combination of relevant research and collaboration with leading world experts has created a unique, productive atmosphere.

Elena Khimova: The project is in focusing on various diagnostic aspects of socially significant diseases (TB, HIV and HCV), implements new technologies and develops novel diagnostic approaches.

Can you tell us about the research you are doing in CARE?

Andrei Maryandyshev: As part of this project, we are developing a TB diagnostics system using a DNA biomarker found in the urine of patients with pulmonary tuberculosis who cannot collect sputum (children, elderly people with a serious condition). We have also extracted DNA from patients with extrapulmonary tuberculosis to investigate the SIGLEC-1 gene. If the hypothesis of the association of the SIGLEC-1 gene with the occurrence of extrapulmonary tuberculosis* is confirmed, it can help in developing a simple non-invasive method of confirming the extrapulmonary TB diagnosis.

The last part of our scientific plan involves discovering biomarkers in urine during TB infection versus other nonspecific diseases of the urinary tract and lungs. In the CARE project, we have collected urine from patients with inflammatory diseases for mass spectrometry analysis.

Elena Khimova: Our Northern State Medical University, in collaboration with the Arkhangelsk Clinical Tuberculosis Dispensary, is involved in the implementation of the working package "Novel diagnostic approaches in TB and MDR-TB and urine biomarkers of treatment response" and "Role of the SIGLEC-1 gene in the development of extrapulmonary forms of tuberculosis." Our task is to analyze initial information about the method (literary review), organize the collection of urine samples from both patients with and without TB, as well as organise storage and transportation of samples to the place of analysis.

Can CARE project help in addressing HIV, HCV and TB epidemics in Russia and Europe?

Andrei Maryandyshev: The CARE project helps achieve the ultimate goal of the WHO strategy. The third component of the strategy recommends research and the introduction of new innovative events to eliminate tuberculosis. The project aims to develop new products and innovate implementation in TB programs for faster elimination of TB, including those combined with HIV infection and hepatitis C.

Elena Khimova: This scientific project aims at collecting data on socially significant diseases (HIV, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis). Diagnosis and treatment of these diseases are often based on similar approaches. Uniquely, these scientific projects provide an opportunity for clinicians to increase understanding of the disease and opportunities in diagnosis and treatment.

Do you plan to continue your collaboration with the project partners in the future?

Andrei Maryandyshev: We are very interested and plan to continue the collaboration.

Elena Khimova: The experience gained in major international scientific projects always contributes to the continuation and expansion of cooperation. I am confident that our university will continue to collaborate with CARE project partners in the efforts against socially significant diseases.


*Dissemination of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is associated to a SIGLEC1 null variant that limits antigen exchange via trafficking extracellular vesicles. Benet S, Gálvez C, Drobniewski F, Kontsevaya I, Arias L, Monguió-Tortajada M, Erkizia I, Urrea V, Ong RY, Luquin M, Dupont M, Chojnacki J, Dalmau J, Cardona P, Neyrolles O, Lugo-Villarino G, Vérollet C, Julián E, Furrer H, Günthard HF, Crocker PR, Tapia G, Borràs FE, Fellay J, McLaren PJ, Telenti A, Cardona PJ, Clotet B, Vilaplana C, Martinez-Picado J, Izquierdo-Useros N. J Extracell Vesicles. 2021 Jan;10(3):e12046. doi: 10.1002/jev2.12046. Epub 2021 Jan 14. PMID: 33489013; PMCID: PMC7807485.

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