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Personalised Medicine for TB

A new study led by the University of Oxford-based CRyPTIC consortium, working with Genomics England, Public Health England and the NIHR, reveals new opportunities for personalised medicine in the treatment of tuberculosis (TB).

The study, ‘Prediction of Susceptibility to First-Line Tuberculosis Drugs by DNA Sequencing’, demonstrates much greater accuracy in predicting the susceptibility of the bacterium to anti-TB drugs than had been expected. This more detailed understanding of TB’s genetic code now allows researchers to predict which commonly used anti-TB drugs are best for treating a patient’s infection and which are not.

Genomics England Chief Scientist, Professor Mark Caulfield, said:

The 100,000 Genomes Project has amassed the largest collection of whole human genomes linked to direct healthcare. Here researchers working with Genomics England and with other agencies have demonstrated that DNA sequencing can be used to guide first-line treatment of tuberculosis. This shows that genomic medicine can enable precision care of millions of people, in the UK and around the world.

Lead investigator, Dr Tim Walker, Academic Clinical Lecturer in Microbiology and Infectious Diseases at the University of Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Medicine, said:

With ever-faster and more portable DNA sequencing technologies being developed, this advance means that we are now much closer to delivering tailored therapy to TB patients around the world whose treatments have so far been largely based on a ‘best guess’. Giving the correct drugs to more patients will improve cure rates and help stop the spread of drug-resistant strains.

The paper was published on 26 September in the New England Journal of Medicine, with its findings announced at the United Nations General Assembly high-level meeting on tuberculosis.

News about the study from GOV.UK can be found here and from the NIHR here.

Read the full story at the Genomics England website.

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