PredictTB Final Meeting
On June 9, the EDCTP-part of the PredictTB consortium held its final meeting online. The 5.5-year project is scheduled to draw to a close at the end of July this year. During the final meeting, the group reviewed their achievements to date and discussed the ongoing data analysis as well as future dissemination activities.
The PredictTB consortium carries out a large-scale clinical study with close to 700 participants in China and South Africa to find and validate biomarkers that can identify tuberculosis (TB) patients who can be cured with shorter treatment.
PredictTB provides a wealth of clinical, imaging and microbiological data
One key topic of discussion during the final meeting was the primary and secondary trial outcomes. Even if the early stopping criteria were shown not to be effective in achieving a safe reduction period of standard TB treatment from six to four months, the PredictTB study provides a wealth of clinical, imaging and microbiological data.
The sample collection of PET/CT scans of TB patients during treatment produced by the study is among the largest of its kind. In addition, the study has provided a great amount of well-characterised patient samples. To improve researchers’ understanding of what causes relapse in TB patients, the relapse samples from the study are currently being used for RNA sequencing and whole genome sequencing. This work will continue also after the funding period.
Promising results from the MERM stub-study
Several sub-studies have been carried out as part of the PredictTB project. The final meeting included a presentation of the sub-study MERM, short for Medication Event Reminder-Monitor. All participants in the PredictTB study received a MERM box, a device that stored their pills and reminded them to take their medication on time.
The results from the MERM study are promising. All participants were asked to fill out two questionnaires, one at the start and one at the end of their treatment, to evaluate if their perception of the MERM box changes over time. Overall, treatment adherence was high in PredictTB compared with past trials, and a majority of the participants reported that they found MERM helpful.
Ensuring long-lasting impact
Another topic in focus during the meeting was capacity building. A large number of training and networking activities have been implemented by the consortium, including a mentorship scheme, which consisted of 15 mentor-mentee pairs.
To further ensure a long-lasting impact of PredictTB, the consortium launched the PredictTB Learning Board earlier this year. This online platform supports self-learning and provides members of the consortium with continued easy access to information produced and collected during the project.
The large-scale PredictTB study has brought together researchers from around the world and strengthened the ties between colleagues on different continents. The group will continue to analyse and share their results in the months and years to come.