CRyPTIC aims to reveal the genetic causes of drug resistant TB to enable the development of DNA-based diagnostics. Using a new experimental assay, the consortium has semi-quantitatively measured the level of drug resistance and scanned the genome of over 15,000 Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis) strains from across the globe.
Together these form a unique, rich dataset, which can be used to probe the genetic causes of drug resistance in TB. The end goal is to apply these insights to DNA-based diagnostics, predicting the drug resistance of a patient TB strain to different drugs allowing for personalised treatment.
These data are hosted at EMBL-EBI where they will be made freely available to the scientific community.
Improving TB treatment
“TB currently causes over a million deaths per year all across the globe, and appropriate therapy is dependent on identifying which drugs will and won’t work for each patient’s particular infection,” said Zamin Iqbal, Group Leader at EMBL-EBI. “Determining the genetic basis of drug resistant TB enables rapid DNA-based diagnostics for identifying resistance to drugs, and informing therapy choice. By using quantitative measurements, rather than binary yes or no to resistance, we have been able to discern the fine-scale impact of specific mutations on resistance. In the process, this has generated a huge resource for science which we expect to be used for years to come.”
This work is detailed in nine new studies, covering a range of topics including:
new approaches to detecting genetic mutations in the M. tuberculosis genome
discovering the genetic causes of drug resistance and the precise impact of each mutation
how artificial intelligence can predict drug resistance from DNA signatures