Science Translational Medicine, 2017
Lipoarabinomannan (LAM) is a component of the cell wall shed by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis, an infection mainly affecting the lungs. LAM can be detected in urine samples from patients coinfected with HIV, but current LAM detection methods have failed for HIV-negative patients. Using hydrogel Nanotrap® particles ("Nanocages") and a chemical bait with high affinity for LAM, Paris et al. showed that patients negative for HIV with active tuberculosis infections had detectably higher concentrations of LAM in their urine than patients without active tuberculosis infections. Nanocages could also be used to detect cytokines and other antigens present in low concentrations in urine, demonstrating the versatility of the technology as a method to detect and monitor infections.