Gene test for candida a possibility

Candida is the fourth most common bloodstream infection in the United States, yet it is often hard to distinguish from a bacterial infection. The yeast-like fungus normally lives in the mouth and gastrointestinal tract without causing trouble, but antibiotics or other drugs can kill off competing bacteria and cause an overgrowth.

When Candida organisms enter the blood, they can be disseminated throughout the body, causing severe illness: can kill 10-15% of critically ill patients within the first 24 hours of infection. If undetected for up to three days, they kill 30% of patients.

However, researchers at Duke University in North Carolina have found that mice infected with the Candida albicans fungus have a telltale signature of genes that are active, or expressed, that is not found in the blood of healthy mice. Using this, they created a genetic pattern or signature associated with yeast infection whch also allowed them to distinguish the fungal infection from a staph infection, another bloodstream disease that shares the same set of symptoms

The researchers believe that the study provides the basis for development of a blood-gene expression tests in humans to detect the infection earlier than can be done using currently available methods.

Courtesy of Reuters




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First Published March 2010


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