Recently, the U.K. and the U.S. based researchers developed Positron Emission Tomography (PET) for a more accurate scan for tuberculosis.

More on the news

The team has developed a new radiotracer, to detect the causative Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) bacterium in the body.

  • Radiotracers are radioactive compounds which give off radiation that can be detected by scanners and turned into a 3D image.
  • It only requires a hospital to have standard radiation control and PET scanners
  • The team, from the Rosalind Franklin Institute, the Universities of Oxford and Pittsburgh, and the National Institutes of Health, developed a new radiotracer, called fluoro-2-deoxytrehalose (FDT).
  • FDT which enables PET scans to be used for the first time to accurately pinpoint when and where the disease is still active in a patient’s lungs.
  • The new radiotracer is now ready to go into Phase I trials in humans.
  • The new approach developed by the researchers is more specific as it uses a carbohydrate that is only processed by the TB bacteria.

The two methods exist for TB diagnosis

  • Testing for the TB bacteria in a patient’s sputum using smear microscopy or a molecular test.
    Sputum test can show a negative long before the disease has been fully treated in the lungs, which could result in patients finishing treatment too early
  • PET scan to look for signs of inflammation in the lung, using the common radiotracer Fludeoxyglucose F18 (FDG).
    Scanning for inflammation can be helpful in seeing the extent of the disease, but it is not specific to TB, as inflammation can be caused by other conditions.

Tuberculosis (TB)

  • It is caused by bacteria (Mycobacterium tuberculosis) and it most often affects the lungs. TB is spread through the air when people with lung TB cough, sneeze or spit.
  • TB is the leading cause of death of people with HIV and also a major contributor to antimicrobial resistance.
  • TB disease is curable. It is treated by a standard 6 months course of 4 antibiotics. Common drugs include rifampicin and isoniazid.

Also Read:

Keshava Temple, Somanathapura