August 12, 2013

Noninvasive test detects stomach bug

A noninvasive test can be used to identify the presence of Helicobacter pylori and evaluate its virulence, which will be useful in areas with high rates of H. pylori-associated gastric cancer.

Infection with the stomach-dwelling bacterium Helicobacter pylori – a strong risk factor for gastric cancer – is highly prevalent in children living in the Colombian Andes. Investigations of H. pylori characteristics in asymptomatic children have been limited by the requirement for invasive gastric biopsies.

Now, Barbara Schneider, Ph.D., Richard Arboleda, M.D., and colleagues have demonstrated that the noninvasive Entero-test can be used to identify the presence of H. pylori and evaluate virulence genotypes. The pediatric Entero-test is a small gel capsule attached to an absorbent string; the capsule is swallowed and dissolves, and the string with absorbed gastric juices is retrieved. The investigators found that children who had been treated for H. pylori had less virulent genotypes compared to non-treated children.

The findings, reported in the August Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition, support using the Entero-test for surveillance and characterization of H. pylori infection, particularly in asymptomatic children living in areas with high rates of gastric cancer.

This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health (DK007673, CA028842, TR000445, DK058404).