Infectious Disease

Knight Diagnostic Laboratories has over 20 years of experience performing PCR-based clinical diagnostic and translational research assays for the detection and quantitation of pathogenic micro-organisms.   The predominant technology in the infectious disease molecular laboratory is fluorescent real-time quantitative PCR (qRT PCR), with single or multiple targets.

In addition to routine molecular virology (HIV, HCV, HBV, respiratory viruses), the lab has particular expertise in infections of immunocompromised hosts.  These pathogens include CMV, EBV, BK virus, and adenovirus:

  • Cytomegalovirus (CMV) is a significant cause of graft injury and rejection in solid organ transplant recipients and life-threatening interstitial pneumonitis in bone marrow transplant recipients. 
  • Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a widespread DNA herpes virus that infects 90% of the healthy population by adulthood.  The virus mainly infects B lymphocytes, immortalizing them in culture, but also oropharyngeal epithelial cells and T-cells.  EBV has strong epidemiologic links to Infectious Mononucleosis, Burkitt Lymphoma and Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma.  There is a weaker link to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.  Post-transplant lymphoprolierative disease (PTLD) is a potentially life-threatening complication after transplant and EBV is a strong risk factor.

  • Epidemiologic studies have shown a high seroprevalence rates for BK virus ranging from 60% to 100% beginning in childhood.  BK virus reactivation or primary infection among immunocompromised patients is associated with disease of the kidney or urinary bladder.  The severity, therapeutic response and clinical course of BK virus-associated disease have been correlated to BK viral load.

  • Human adenoviruses are a common cause of self-limited respiratory, gastrointestinal, or ocular infections in immunocompetent children and adults.  In immunocompromised patients, however, adenovirus can cause severe, life-threatening infections including cystitis/nephritis, pneumonitis, hepatitis, and gastroenteritis, and sepsis.

The Knight Diagnostic Laboratories also screen for Bordetella pertussis, the causative agent of pertussis or “whooping cough,” a bacterial illness which occurs worldwide with a significant prevalence among unvaccinated children and individuals in whom vaccination-induced immunity has waned. Recent resurgence of the disease has occurred within highly vaccinated populations, and transmission from adult reservoirs to unvaccinated children is of increasing concern.

Our Medical Directors are always available for consultation on results or test selection.

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The Knight Cancer Institute at Oregon Health & Science University is a pioneer in the field of precision cancer medicine. The institute's director, Brian Druker, M.D., helped prove it was possible to shut down just the cells that enable cancer to grow. This breakthrough has made once-fatal forms of the disease manageable and transformed how cancer is treated. The OHSU Knight Cancer Institute is the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center between Sacramento and Seattle – an honor earned only by the nation's top cancer centers. It is headquarters for one of the National Cancer Institute's largest research collaboratives, SWOG, in addition to offering the latest treatments and technologies as well as hundreds of research studies and clinical trials.

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