Seminar blog | When two diseases work in TANDEM

What is the problem?

Treating a patient who suffers from a single disease can be tough but treating multiple diseases can be even tougher, especially when not much is known about how they interact. Patients suffering from both tuberculosis and diabetes represent an impending co-epidemic that, if left under resourced, could prove devastating to the areas that are affected. Furthermore, tests for diagnosing tuberculosis in individuals with diabetes are expensive, and with high prevalence of these diseases in low- and middle-income countries, cost is an important issue. To tackle this imminent threat, a multidisciplinary team of scientists is needed. Enter, TANDEM.

What is TANDEM?

The TB Centre was fortunate to hear from Assistant Professor Daniel Grint in June where he presented insights from the exciting new investigative study, TANDEM. TANDEM aims to improve our knowledge of what the association is between tuberculosis and diabetes, to improve how patients are diagnosed and managed, and to establish the impact of this combined threat. TANDEM consists of a global network of collaborations, giving the study a strong breadth of data beyond what smaller studies can typically achieve.

A the salt room, which is a form of complementary therapy for TB in the Romanian TB Hospital (sanatorium) in the mountains of Gorj County.

What are the results?

Due to the complex nature of the association between tuberculosis and diabetes, TANDEM identified that a one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosing diabetes was difficult to identify, but that screening methods in combination with disease risk scores (calculated using a selection of diagnostic tests) can help to mitigate costs while, crucially, maintaining high diagnostic accuracy. Assistant Professor Grint is currently working with his colleagues to submit the first paper for this study.

What’s next?

To find out more about TANDEM, co-author and Research Fellow, Dr Yoko Laurence will be presenting on the cost implications of screening at the 48th Union World Conference on Lung Health in October.

Missed the seminar?

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Be sure to check back with us on our website over the next few months, so we can keep you up to date with the latest news from this study.

The mode of transportation up to a higher altitude hospital in Lima, Peru.

TANDEM = Concurrent Tuberculosis and Diabetes Mellitus.