New Imaging Technique can Diagnose Tuberculosis in an Hour

August 16, 2018

A new imaging technique from the Cellular and Molecular Imaging Lab can now diagnose live tuberculosis in an hour. The tactic harnesses a newly created two-piece fluorescent probe. The probe is combined with a spit sample and gets activated, or "switched on," when it comes in contact with TB bacteria. One part of the probe is responsible for detecting live TB, thus creating the telltale glow, and the second part, a molecule that binds specifically to the TB microbe, localizes the glow to the bacterium. The concentrated fluorescence allows scientists to not only see the rod-shaped bacteria themselves, but also to track their distribution in infected host cells.

The research, "Rapid and specific labeling of single live Mycobacterium tuberculosis with a dual-targeting fluorogenic probe," has been published in Science Translational Medicine.