Tuberculosis (TB) at UCL

UCL-TB connects researchers in UCL and across their networks with the aim of improving research into TB, dissemination of research outcomes and new funding opportunities for research groups. 

TB News 

3 March 2015

Culture-free whole genome sequencing of M.tb: from crypts to clinics

Researchers in the Department of Infection and Immunity as part of an EU funded consortium (www.ucl.ac.uk/pathseek) have successfully developed a system where full genomes of M.tb can be sequenced directly from clinical samples, without the need to culture. This technology is based on oligonucleotide enrichment using RNA baits designed against the M.tb genome, and can be applied to DNA extracted directly from clinical samples. In a pilot study on 25 patient’s sputum samples, it was shown to produce the same quality and quantity of data that could be achieved via standard practices relying on culture (publication under review). This technique will now be applied to a further two studies. The first of these, funded by the BRC, will compare the accuracy and turnaround of this new methodology to MGIT, culture sequencing and phenotypic antimicrobial resistance testing for the identification of M.tb antimicrobial resistance. Samples will be collected prospectively from six hospitals across London and when available, longitudinal samples from individual patients will be prioritised so that there will be an opportunity to study the evolution of M.tb within patients. In a second project, this technique will be used to sequence M.tb from samples of a completely different kind. In collaboration with Mark Pallen (University of Warwick) complete M.tb genomes have already been successfully extracted from the remains of two 200-year old Mummys. Further sequencing of ancient samples, in collaboration with Francois Balloux and Helen Donoghue (UCL), will hopefully reveal insights into the deep evolutionary past of M.tb. For further information please contact Judith Breuer (j.breuer@ucl.ac.uk)

27 February 2015

PanACEA MAMS-TB-01 finds high-dose rifampicin may help shorten TB treatment

At the annual Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI), PanACEA, the Pan-African Consortium for the Evaluation of Antituberculosis Antibiotics, presented the results of its most recent phase IIb study (MAMS-TB-01). The most exciting finding from the study is that high-dose rifampicin results in faster killing of TB bacilli during treatment, compared to the current standard treatment.

Chief Investigator Martin Boeree (Radboud University Nijmegen) says: “This is the largest reduction in time to culture conversion seen in any previous TB trial, to our knowledge. High doses of rifampicin may be an important component in shorter TB regimens in the future.”

The PanACEA consortium (http://panacea-tb.net/) is a partnership of 11 African and 7 European institutions. UCL is a major partner with the MRC-CTU at UCL (Patrick Phillips, Sunita Rehal) and the Centre for Clinical Microbiology (Timothy McHugh, Alimuddin Zumla). 

You can view the webcast at www.croiwebcasts.org/console/player/25685?mediaType=slideVideo&

23 February 2015

Dr Sanjib Bhakta chairing TB Summit and delivery World TB Day Lecture

Dr Sanjib Bhakta (http://www.bbk.ac.uk/biology/our-staff/academic/sanjib-bhakta) will be chairing the TB Summit 2015 (https://www.regonline.co.uk/builder/site/Default.aspx?EventID=1530202:  24th – 26th March at O2 Arena, Greenwich peninsula, London) organised to commemorate the World TB Day this year. This international summit is organised successfully by EuroSciCon (http://euroscicon.com/) over the last three years in London. A meeting report will be published to a peer-reviewed journal like previous years (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25003368). 

Dr Bhakta will also be delivering a TB Day public lecture and jointly presenting an on-going Science Project with the Year-11 students of St Mary’s School, Buckinghamshire (http://www.stmarysschool.co.uk/). The School won the “You Can Initiative Award 2014/15” from British Institute of Technology and E-Commerce (http://www.bite.ac.uk/index.php) on “TB or not TB” led by Dr Bhakta. This project aims towards repurposing existing drugs to treat TB as well as to tackle antibiotic resistance in TB.

Dr Bhakta recently wrote a review article entitled “Repurposing - a ray of hope in tackling extensively drug resistance in TB” which is accepted for publication at International Journal of Infectious Diseases (http://www.ijidonline.com/) on a special issue to be published on the World TB Day 2015 (http://events.ucl.ac.uk/event/event:l6k-i56ldg6e-pc6cp5) jointly organised by UCL-TB and LSHTM-TB.

Dr Bhakta, a core member of UCL-TB, is currently a Reader in Molecular Microbiology at the Institute of Structural and Molecular Biology, Birkbeck, University of London and Honorary Senior lecturer at three research departments of UCL (Research Department of Structural and Molecular Biology, Department of Infection and UCL-School of Pharmacy). He is also a Cipla Distinguished Fellow in Pharmaceutical Sciences and “Antibiotic Action Champion” Member of the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (http://bsac.org.uk/­). To find more information about Dr Bhakta and ISMB-Mycobacteria Research Lab’s TB research and outreach activities follow: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Dr-Sanjib-Bhakta-PhD-DPhil-Oxford/1402960816587288

17 February 2015

World TB Day 2015: What do we need to know to reach, treat and cure everyone with TB?

Date: Tuesday 24 March
Venue: UCL Institute of Child Health

Registration is now open for the joint UCL-TB and LSHTM TB Centre event World TB Day 2015: What do we need to know to reach, treat and cure everyone with TB?, which will take place on Tuesday 24 March at the UCL Institute of Child Health, London.

The event will bring together world-renowned national and international experts to present the latest research working towards reaching, treating and curing people with tuberculosis, to highlight key issues facing TB researchers, and to explore possible solutions.

The meeting will also review the new Public Health England and NHS England collaborative five year national strategy to eliminate TB, as its implementation begins. This is the first time the UK has had a national strategy so the event will provide TB specialists the unique opportunity to come together and discuss how best to implement the strategy, and identify possible risks and opportunities.

For more information and to register to attend, please click on the following link:

http://ucl-lshtmworldtbday2015.eventbrite.co.uk

Through bringing a wide range of researchers together we aim to encourage cross-disciplinary links and collaborations between scientists and clinicians at the forefront of the TB field, with the hope of cultivating innovative new research projects and ultimately improving patient outcomes in London and across the world.

We very much hope to welcome you on Tuesday 24 March for what is sure to be a fascinating day.

UCL & LSHTM World TB Day organising committee:

  • Professor Ibrahim Abubakar (UCL)
  • Dr Katherine Fielding (LSHTM)
  • Dr Helen Fletcher (LSHTM)
  • Dr Marc Lipman (UCL)
  • Professor Timothy McHugh (UCL)
  • Professor David Moore (LSHTM)
  • Professor Ali Zumla (UCL)

2 February 2015

New coordinator appointed for UCL-TB

Kim Morgan has just joined UCL-TB as coordinator, having previously worked in the Division of Psychiatry at UCL. Kim has a background in marketing and communications and research administration. "I'm very excited about working on such a high-profile subject and with some of the leading researchers in the field. Our recent outstanding ranking in the research excellence framework (REF) scores shows the strength of our research at UCL and I'm very much looking forward to supporting the tb community to build on that work and develop a network that supports researchers working in tuberculosis."

10 March 2014

MAMS-TB trial stops recruiting patients to two arms

The MAMS-TB trial is a TB clinical trial with an innovative study design.  The trial is  being conducted by the PanACEA consortium, of which UCL is a major partner; the MRC Clinical Trials Unit at UCL are responsible for data analysis and the UCL Centre for Clinical Microbiology provide the laboratory expertise.

The MAMS-TB trial aims to identify combinations of drugs that could shorten tuberculosis (TB) treatment. Standard TB treatment currently lasts around 6 months. The MAMS-TB trial is comparing 4 new combinations of drugs with the standard 6-month combination. It uses the innovating multi-arm, multi-stage approach, which allows several treatments to be assessed against a single control arm. Those that are not sufficiently promising can be dropped after interim analyses. This allows resources to be focused on those treatments that are most likely to be an improvement compared to the current standard treatment.

The trial is stopping recruiting patients to two of its arms. This follows a meeting of the Independent Data Monitoring Committee (IDMC) which looked at interim analyses. The IDMC recommended that the arms testing the HRZQ and HR20ZQ combinations of drugs should be closed, as the interim results were not promising enough. These two arms include the drug SQ109 instead of ethambutol in the standard 6-month combination with rifampicin given at the higher dose of 20mg/kg in the HR20ZQ arm. Patients are still being recruited to the other three arms of the trial.

To read the full story in SLMS News:

http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/slms/slms-news/slms/MAMS-TB

13 February 2014

UCL Donors help fund a forgotten treatment for TB

UCL donors John and Ann –Margaret Walton have made possible research to progress the understanding of tuberculomucin, a potential alternative treatment for TB that was invented before the Second World War.


‘Tuberculomucin – a forgotten treatment – may give us a powerful new method of combatting this ancient but continually burdensome disease which has always claimed more lives amongst the young and economically active than any other age group’
Dr Carole Reeves, UCL


The research taking place at the UCL Divisions of Infection and Immunity, and Medicine along with the UCL Department of Science & Technology Studies aims to explore the mode of action of  tuberculomucin to assess its viability as an alternative treatment for TB. Dr Freidrich Weleminsky developed it as a possible cure for TB in the early 20th Century. Historians and scientists will work together to understand the history of tuberculomucin as a TB treatment in the pre-antibiotic period and its possible application today...  READ More in UCL Development & Alumni Relations Office (DARO)News

North London TB Journal Club

Organiser: Tom Yates t.yates@ucl.ac.uk
Link to North London TB Journal Club site: http://northlondontb.org/


4-5pm, 5 February 2015

Why does HIV so dramatically increase susceptibility to TB? 

Why do HIV positive people remain more susceptible once established on antiretrovirals? Join us to learn more about alveolar macrophages, T cells and the immune response to mycobacteria.Paper: Jambo et al. Asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy exhibit impaired lung CD4(+) T-cell responses to mycobacteria. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2014; 190(8): 938-47 [available here]. Presenter: James Brown, University College London Chair: Marc Lipman, University College London Time: 4-5pm, 5 February 2015 Venue: Tutorial Room 1, lower ground floor, Royal Free Hospital.Tutorial Room 1 is on the Lower Ground Floor at the Royal Free Hospital. For a more detailed view, please click on the map northlondontb.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/royal-free-hospital-lg-map.jpg. For directions to the Royal Free Hospital, please go to www.royalfree.nhs.uk/contact-us/getting-to-our-hospitals/how-to-get-to-royal-free-hospital

4-5pm, 5 February 2015

Why does HIV so dramatically increase susceptibility to TB? Why do HIV positive people remain more susceptible once established on antiretrovirals? Join us to learn more about alveolar macrophages, T cells and the immune response to mycobacteria.

Paper: Jambo et al. Asymptomatic HIV-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy exhibit impaired lung CD4(+) T-cell responses to mycobacteria. Am J Respir Crit Care Med 2014; 190(8): 938-47 [available here].
Presenter: James Brown, University College London
Chair: Marc Lipman, University College London
Time: 4-5pm, 5 February 2015
Venue: Tutorial Room 1, lower ground floor, Royal Free Hospital.

Tutorial Room 1 is on the Lower Ground Floor at the Royal Free Hospital. For a more detailed view, please click on the map [https://northlondontb.files.wordpress.com/2014/05/royal-free-hospital-lg-map.jpg]. For directions to the Royal Free Hospital, please click here [https://www.royalfree.nhs.uk/contact-us/getting-to-our-hospitals/how-to-get-to-royal-free-hospital/].

Contact us

Tell us about your latest projects and events related to TB or ask us a question about TB.

Please contact UCL-TB administrator Kim Morgan kim.morgan@ucl.ac.uk

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Page last modified on 29 jan 15 16:32