SEP 11, 2018 8:21 PM PDT

Potential Non-Antibiotic Drug For Tuberculosis

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Credit: Image via Homeopathy Plus (homeopathyplus.com)

After 10 years of research, scientists at the University of Manchester have created the first non-antibiotic drug that can successfully treat tuberculosis (TB) in animal models. The research, which was funded by the Medical Research Council, was published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. The scientists hope that the developed drug will enter clinical trials within the next three to four years.

The drug works by targeting the Mycobacterium tuberculosis’ defense system rather than attacking the bacterium itself, possibly taking out the common antibiotic-resistant strain. Even though 100 years earlier, a vaccine was created for TB, still today one in three people across the globe are thought to be infected. Roughly 1.7 million worldwide die annually from TB, however, about 7.3 million of those diagnosed with TB were treated in 2018.

The infectious disease is most prevalent in Africa, India, and China. However, it has been recently on the rise in the UK with London often labeled as the “TB capital of Europe”. Those diagnosed with TB often are prescribed a series of strong antibiotics over the course of 6 to 8 months while withstanding adverse side effects including a 20% risk of the disease returning.

Now, the developed drug was proven effective in rodents at Rutgers University. "The fact that the animal studies showed our compound, which doesn't kill the bacteria directly, resulted in a significant reduction in the bacterial burden is remarkable,” explains project leader Professor Lydia Tabernero. “For more than 60 years, the only weapon doctors have been able to use against TB is antibiotics. But resistance is becoming an increasingly worrying problem and the prolonged treatment is difficult and distressing for patients. And with current treatments, there's no guarantee the disease will be eliminated: antibiotics do not clear the infection and the risk of being infected with drug-resistant bacteria is very high. But by disabling this clandestine bacteria's defenses we're thrilled to find a way that enhances the chances of the body's immune system to do its job, and thus eliminates the pathogen."

The bacterium responsible for tuberculosis produces molecules known as Virulence Factors which help inhibit the immune response to the infection. One Virulence Factor that was identified is called MptpB. MptpB is a drug suitable target because when inhibited, it allows the white blood cells (leukocytes) to kill the Mycobacterium effectively. "The great thing about MptpB is that there's nothing similar in humans -- so our compound which blocks it is not toxic to the human cells,” explains Tabernero. "Because the bacteria hasn't been threatened directly, it is less likely to develop resistance against this new agent, and this will be a major advantage over current antibiotics, for which bacteria had already become resistant. TB is an amazingly difficult disease to treat so we feel this is a significant breakthrough. The next stage of our research is to optimize further the chemical compound, but we hope Clinical trials are up to four years away."

To learn more about Tuberculosis, watch the video below!

Source: University of Manchester

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 15, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Turmeric Better than Placebo for Osteoarthritis Pain
SEP 15, 2020
Turmeric Better than Placebo for Osteoarthritis Pain
Researchers from the University of Tasmania in Australia have found that an extract from turmeric is more effective than ...
OCT 01, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
HPV Vaccine Protects Against Cervical Cancer, Large Study Finds
OCT 01, 2020
HPV Vaccine Protects Against Cervical Cancer, Large Study Finds
It has been known for some time that the HPV vaccine protects against human papillomavirus infection, genital warts, and ...
OCT 14, 2020
Immunology
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
OCT 14, 2020
Self-Healing Microcapsules Make Promising Leukemia Vaccines
Leukemia is a cancer affecting tissues in the body that produce blood cells, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic ...
OCT 22, 2020
Neuroscience
Placebos Impact Brain Patterns for Emotional Processing
OCT 22, 2020
Placebos Impact Brain Patterns for Emotional Processing
Researchers from Michigan State University have found that placebos reduce markers of emotional distress- even when the ...
OCT 03, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Treating Gut-Leakiness
OCT 03, 2020
Treating Gut-Leakiness
A drug called tofacitinib, also called Xeljanz , was found to treat permeability defects in the intestines. Tofacitinib ...
NOV 02, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Beetroot Peptide Shows Promise in Treating Inflammatory Diseases
NOV 02, 2020
Beetroot Peptide Shows Promise in Treating Inflammatory Diseases
Researchers from the Medical Univesity of Vienna in Austria have found that a peptide (a small protein molecule) found i ...
Loading Comments...