Research ArticleInfectious diseases

Blood Gene Expression Signatures Predict Invasive Candidiasis

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Science Translational Medicine  03 Mar 2010:
Vol. 2, Issue 21, pp. 21ra17
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3000715

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Editor's Summary

Bloodstream infection with the fungus Candida is the fourth most common bloodstream infection in the United States, primarily acquired during hospital stays. However, thousands of hospital patients who acquire such fungal infections are mistakenly diagnosed with a bacterial infection and subsequently treated with antibiotics when they should be treated with antifungals. In patients whose immune systems are weakened because of cancer treatments, steroids, or diseases such as AIDS, Candida infections can cause life-threatening problems. Yet current tests for Candida infections are often unreliable and take several days for results to be available. Now, Zaas and colleagues use a mouse model to develop a diagnostic tool that is able to rapidly identify global changes in the gene expression of peripheral blood immune effector cells that can distinguish between major infectious etiologies. This gene signature was able to distinguish murine candidemia versus bacteremia versus no infection, as well as the progression of illness related to candidemia. Whether or not this signature will prove effective in stratifying recently infected patients is currently under investigation, but the technique holds considerable promise for such time-sensitive clinical needs.


  • * These authors contributed equally to this work.

  • Citation: A. K. Zaas, H. Aziz, J. Lucas, J. R. Perfect, G. S. Ginsburg, Blood gene expression signatures predict invasive candidiasis. Sci. Transl. Med. 2, 21ra17 (2010).

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