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QIAGEN And Max Planck Institute For Infection Biology Collaborate To Develop Assay For Active TB Risk In Individuals With Latent Infection

HILDEN and BERLIN, Germany, January 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --

  • Collaboration to create molecular test assessing a person's risk for latent TB progressing to active TB, enabling early treatment and disease outbreak prevention
  • QIAGEN strengthening its leading infectious disease portfolio with development of DNA-/RNA-based test that complements QuantiFERON-TB Gold test for latent TB
  • New assay will use whole blood transcription profiling - a new diagnostic technology developed at the Max Planck Institute's Department of Immunology
  • New molecular test to be run on the QIAsymphony modular automation platform

QIAGEN N.V. (NASDAQ: QGEN; Frankfurt: Prime Standard: QIA) and the Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology (MPIIB), Department of Immunology have announced a new collaboration to develop a molecular diagnostic test to assess the risk of an individual with latent tuberculosis (TB) developing active TB disease during their lifetime. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Approximately one-third of the world's population is estimated to be infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but do not have active tuberculosis. The identification and treatment of these individuals is critical to controlling this disease since approximately 5-10% of latent TB patients are at risk for developing active TB during their lifetime, particularly those with weakened immune systems.  

As a follow-up to those who test positive for latent TB, this new test will be designed to enable early treatment before reactivation of the TB disease, when it becomes contagious and causes life-threatening respiratory illnesses and other diseases.

This new molecular reflex assay, which is based on significant research conducted at the MPIIB in Berlin, is expected to be a PCR-based test targeting multiple biomarkers. It will be designed to run on the QIAsymphony modular automation platform and to serve as a reflex test following QIAGEN's QuantiFERON-TB Gold test, the modern gold standard for detection of latent TB. The kits are not expected to be available before 2013 and will be commercialized by QIAGEN.

During TB infection, changes occur in the transcriptional profiles of immune cells circulating through blood - alterations in gene expression that reflect the body's immune response and help to distinguish between latent and active disease. The goal of QIAGEN's collaboration with the MPIIB is to format the most suitable markers from the sets of biomarkers identified by the institute into a molecular assay that can predict susceptibility or resistance to active TB disease in individuals with latent TB.

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