Skip to main content

Like a crystal ball, a blood test can predict when serious infections will strike

Memphis, Tennessee, December 19, 2019

Two scientists sit at a desk reviewing the latest findings.

Joshua Wolf, MBBS, Ph.D. and Kathryn Goggin, M.D., are utilizing microbial cell-free DNA to detect bloodstream infections in leukemia patients.

Children with leukemia are at high risk of infection because treatments weaken their immune systems. Detecting infections early can make a life-saving difference.

Researchers at St. Jude showed that a new test predicted bloodstream infections up to three days before symptoms appeared.

The pilot study enrolled 47 patients, with 19 bloodstream infections. In 75% of the cases, the test picked up infections before standard testing – in some cases before any symptoms appeared.

“This work gets to the heart of something families of children with cancer desperately want: to know what is coming next and to be able to do something about it,” said co-senior author Joshua Wolf, MBBS, PhD, of Infectious Diseases.

JAMA Oncology published a report on this work.

Read the full News Release.

More Information