TB Diagnostics the Focus of KGI's 4th Annual Research Symposium
Two-day event brings together key players from academia and industry and highlights KGI research on global health, rare and intractable diseases
As part of its commitment to global and community health, KGI will focus on tuberculosis (TB) for its 4th Annual Research Symposium slated for Sept. 26-27, 2014.
TB surfaces not only in developing countries but also among the homeless and indigent populations in Los Angeles and other U.S. cities. Unlike hepatitis and HIV, TB is transmitted easily through the air from an infected person to a healthy person, by coughing or sneezing. More than one million people die of TB each year despite the fact that the disease can be cured through appropriate antibiotic treatment. The problem is that properly treating patients and preventing transmission requires quick, reliable testing, as well as treatment methods that are accessible to the affected populations. Unfortunately, such methods are not available at this time, and approximately 3 million of the estimated 8.6 million new active TB cases in 2012 have not been properly diagnosed.
"TB Diagnosis: From Basic Science to Implementation" will bring together key players from academia and industry to explore the development of better diagnostic testing methods. Speakers will also address obstacles in bringing these new technologies to market.
This year's confirmed speakers are David Boyle, senior program officer for TB Diagnostics at PATH; University of Washington Professor Gerard Cangelosi; U.C. San Diego Professor Antonino Catanzaro; Luke Davis, assistant professor at U.C. San Francisco; Karen Dobos, assistant professor at Colorado State University; Urs Ochsner, head of infectious diseases research at SomaLogic; David Persing, executive vice-president and chief medical and technology officer at Cepheid; Paul Rhodes, CEO for Metabolomx; and, Timothy Rodwell, assistant professor at U.C. San Diego.
Dr. Angelika Niemz who is the director of research and the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Professor at KGI is serving as the event organizer. "Through this event, we hope to provide a broad audience in terms of background and expertise with an opportunity to learn about established and novel approaches for improving TB diagnosis," she said.
During the symposium, Dr. Niemz will also present an innovative solution for TB diagnosis developed by her lab at KGI in partnership with other organizations and funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Partnering organizations include Claremont BioSolutions, the University of Washington, Seattle, King's County TB Control Program, and the Program for Appropriate Technology in Health (PATH).
The compact device is designed for use in near-patient settings, such as a health clinic, and in low-resource, high-burden countries. It automates and integrates the processes involved in nucleic acid amplification testing to detect TB. This system will be more sensitive than current sputum smear tests-the most widely used method to diagnose active TB- and will provide results in about 1.5 hours, enabling testing and treatment initiation in the same visit. Other highly sensitive methods for TB diagnosis exist, but they are typically used in central laboratories and can take two to eight weeks to produce results.
KGI's annual research symposia provide a forum for KGI faculty and students to interact with outside experts and for those experts to learn more about the work being done at KGI. Last year's conference focused on therapies for Huntington's disease, an inherited brain disorder that results in progressive loss of mental faculties and physical control.
The public event is free, but registration is required. Please register online by Sept. 17, 2014 to reserve your spot at the symposium.
To register or find out more information about the symposium: www.kgi.edu/TBsymposium2014
PULL OUT: TB FACTS
- L.A.'s skid row was the site of a large TB outbreak in 2013, placing thousands of people at risk of infection.
- You might have TB and not know it. A third of the world's population has latent TB, which lies dormant but could become active.
- Latent TB can become active as a result of old age, malnutrition or HIV infection.
- About 3 million active TB cases per year go undetected, missed by current test methods.