Case study


Detect active TB cases, diagnose & monitor treatment of patients using blood based-RNA biomarkers

Cloud tag


bioMérieux wanted to develop a blood-based RNA signature allowing to help diagnose and understand the prognosis of tuberculosis patients using the commercially available FilmArray multiplex PCR platform


Active pulmonary TB diagnosis requires culture of Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which may take up to 6 weeks. The GeneXpert MTB/RIF automated

molecular test for M. tuberculosis results in more rapid diagnosis but still requires sputum, which can be difficult to obtain from women and children resulting too often in empirical treatment


BIOASTER collaborates with bioMérieux, the Francis Crick Institute in London and  the University of Leicester to demonstrate the feasibility of using blood-based RNA biomarkers of TB

  1. to differentiate active tuberculosis patients from healthy and asymptomatic latently infected individuals
  2. to monitor tuberculosis treatment and predict therapy outcome


Using RNA-Seq and targeted PCR, we have identified and validated in an independent cohort, a blood transcriptional signature that can discriminates active tuberculosis from latently infected and healthy individuals.

Furthermore, we have shown that blood signatures from patients before and during anti-TB treatment robustly predicted the treatment response distinguishing early and late responders. The diagnosis signature has been out-licensed to an industrial partner.


Future diagnostic tests built on transcriptomics signatures from blood will benefit from the outcomes of this TB project. The process of biomarker discovery and validation that has been successfully validated here can also be applied to other diseases.