The BCCM/ITM public collection maintains so far over 140 strains of the Mycobacterium genus, representing 40 species.
The collection is hosted by the Mycobacteriology
Unit (the Unit) of the Institute of Tropical Medicine.
The host laboratory has one of the largest and most diverse collections of well
documented mycobacteria worldwide, characterized by phenotypic and/or genotypic
tests. BCCM/ITM aims at incorporating the most interesting strains from the ITM
research collection into the BCCM/ITM public collection.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis complex: The
Unit is involved in several studies on tuberculosis, resulting in a huge and
diverse collection of over 20.000 M. tuberculosis strains. The research
collection comprises strains from human and animal origin from all continents
spanning from 1960 to date. The strains represent most drug-resistance profiles
and genotype lineages.
The Unit also houses a public collection of
well characterized M. tuberculosis isolates for the World Health
Organisation and Special Program for Training for Research in Tropical Diseases
Research (WHO-TDR), Geneva, Switzerland. The main objectives and
rationale for the TDR-TB strain bank are: (1) to promote the development
of new diagnostic tools for drug-susceptibility testing of M. tuberculosis appropriate
for use in disease-endemic countries, (2) to evaluate new (and existing)
drug-susceptibility testing assays, and (3) to provide materials for quality
control and proficiency panel testing in endemic countries. Strains from the
TDR-TB strain bank can be ordered through WHO-TDR.
M. ulcerans: In the frame of our research on Buruli ulcer, the
Unit now has a collection of more that 1000 M. ulcerans isolates, originating
from human lesions except for one “unique” environmental strain. The strains
originate from all countries where Buruli ulcer has been detected, spanning a
period from 1960 to date.
«Atypical» mycobacteria: Thousands of specimens have been analyzed
with as a consequence a unique collection of atypical mycobacteria. The strains
are from human, animal and environmental origins and from all continents from
1960 to date.
Difficult-to-culture mycobacteria: We have a unique collection of M.
genavense, M. haemophilum and M. lepraemurium strains that are difficult to
culture in vitro.
BCCM/ITM is a recent public collection sharing its research interests and efforts with
the hosting laboratory. This unit aims to combat tuberculosis (TB), Buruli ulcer (BU) and other mycobacterial diseases,
and is recognized as National, International and Supranational Reference Laboratory for these diseases.
In this framework, the unit provides services to clinical laboratories at national and international level,
(national) TB and BU control programs and NGO projects, by the isolation and identification of mycobateria
as well as determination of resistance to drugs.
The unit also supports capacity strengthening of local laboratories in endemic areas by organizing and performing quality control,
and a transfer of knowledge and expertise. The unit has an extensive collection well documented mycobacterial cultures (see above).
Main research topics are:
- Developing and evaluating rapid diagnostic tests for (drug-resistant) TB and BU;
- Mapping of drug-resistant TB in the world;
- Evaluating new medicines and treatment regimens for TB and BU;
- Operational research into improved diagnosis of TB and BU;
- Molecular epidemiological studies on MTB;
- Studies on the mechanisms of resistance development in TB;
- Studies on the virulence of M. ulcerans;
- Studies on the reservoir and the transmission of M. ulcerans;
- Molecular epidemiological studies M. ulcerans and M. tuberculosis-complex species.
Promoter: Dr Leen Rigouts
BRC Manager: Dr Leen Rigouts
Curator: Dr Leen Rigouts
Quality Responsible: Olivier Detongre (Phone: +32 (0)2 238 34 22)
Dr Leen Rigouts, Deirdre Bombeeck or Maren Diels
Eenheid Mycobacteriologie, Instituut voor Tropische Geneeskunde (ITG)
B-2000 Antwerpen (map & directions)
Phone: +32-(0)3-247 65 51 or +32-(0)3-2476611
Fax: +32-(0)3-247 63 33