Tuberculosis (TB) is an infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis which results in close to 1.5 million deaths yearly. Only about 5% of those infected develop active disease which indicates effective host immune mechanisms which could be useful from a therapeutic perspective. Our results as well as others, show that such immune control includes free radicals such as nitric oxide produced by activated macrophages but also many other factors such as vitamin D-deficiency and chronic helminth infection which may attenuate important host mechanisms such as Th1-type immunity. Once TB has been diagnosed, it is essential that state-of-the art methods to assess host immunity, disease severity, bacterial load, drug exposure and minimal inhibitory concentrations are integrated to individualize and optimize treatment.
Our general aim is to individualise and thereby optimize management of clinical TB by new methods and strategies. For this purpose, we have developed methods to evaluate host immunity to TB, drug concentration measurements, disease severity as well as culture- and whole genome sequenced based susceptibility testing in national and international collaborative projects. The research group consists of specialists in tuberculosis from different profession such as biologists, biomedical analysts, clinical microbiologists, infectious disease specialists and nurses.
In our projects we use several methods such as whole genome sequencing, MIC-determination by several methods including the EUCAST reference method, drug concentration determinations by LC-MS/MS and biological methods. There is close collaboration between the two P3 laboratories for research and clinical diagnosis of mycobacterial infections where virulent mycobacteria are studied using live-cell microscopy, in vitro studies of host immunity using cell-lines. Immunohistochemistry, flow cytometry methods, luminex are used to characterise host immunity responses. There is also expertise on methods used to diagnose active and latent tuberculosis including culture, drug susceptibility testing and interferon-gamma release assays (IGRA). The research group has long time experience in translational projects and clinical interventional studies in local, regional, national and international collaborative studies (Ethiopia, China and Guinea Bissau among others).
Funding is granted from the Swedish Heart and Lung Foundation (JP, 2021-2023; TS 2018-2021), the Swedish Research Council (TS 2017-2022, TN 2019-2022), the Reserach Council of South-East Sweden (FORSS; JP and TS), Linköping University (LiU/ALF; JP and TS).