TB Alliance Issues Call for Researchers to Access TB Biomarker Repository

Researchers Invited to Access MARK-TB Library of Samples from Clinical Trials

March 23, 2021

NEW YORK (March 23, 2021) – Interested researchers are invited to apply to access the MARK-TB (Markedly Accelerating Research with Knowledge of Tuberculosis Biomarkers) database of high-quality patient specimens from late-stage TB drug clinical trials. In making this repository available, MARK-TB is enabling the discovery and qualification of biomarkers to speed clinical development of improved tuberculosis (TB) treatments for both drug-sensitive and multidrug-resistant TB, as well as potentially improving the care of TB patients.

“Validating reliable TB biomarkers could lead to significant gains in TB research, product development, and clinical care, helping researchers to make informed decisions on the development of new TB drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics,” said Dr. Eugene Sun, Senior Vice President, Research and Development, TB Alliance. “We encourage researchers interested in pursuing this area of study to make full use of MARK-TB.”

Biomarkers of drug effect are tests performed on patient samples that can be used as indicators of treatment effectiveness. For example, HIV/AIDS drug development was revolutionized by the validation of biomarkers like viral load and CD4 counts, which reliably predict success of treatment and allowed for a dramatic reduction in the duration and size of clinical trials. Biomarkers for diagnosis are designed to inform disease status, such as the presence of active TB or the likelihood of latent TB becoming active, and can similarly improve research and development productivity as well as clinical care.  

TB is the deadliest infectious disease in the world, but efforts to develop improved TB cures, diagnostics, and vaccines are hindered by the need for lengthy and expensive clinical trials. When developing new TB treatments, the lack of specific biomarkers that are sensitive and specific enough to reliably predict success or failure early in the course of treatment remains a significant challenge. Biomarkers could reduce the duration and cost of TB product development efforts.

MARK-TB is an initiative that provides researchers interested in pursuing TB biomarkers with biospecimens collected in previous TB trials and treatment programs. Formerly known as Consortium for TB Biomarkers (CTB2), MARK-TB was founded by TB Alliance, the Tuberculosis Trials Consortium (TBTC), and the AIDS Clinical Trial Group (ACTG). The project website (www.MARK-TB.org), provides information on biomarker research from MARK-TB grants, general resources related to TB biomarker research, and instructions and an application for researchers pursuing biomarker research to access a library of biospecimens to help facilitate their planned research.

About TB Alliance
TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight TB. Through innovative science and with partners around the globe, we aim to ensure equitable access to faster, better TB cures that will advance global health and prosperity. TB Alliance operates with support from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, European & Developing Countries Clinical Trials Partnership, Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research through KfW, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Indonesia Health Fund, Irish Aid, Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Rockefeller Foundation, United Kingdom Department for International Development, and the United States Agency for International Development. For more information, visit www.tballiance.org