Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Slow-growing TB Bacteria Point The Way To New Drug Development

Date:
March 31, 2009
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
The discovery of a large number of slow-growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause tuberculosis, in the lungs of TB patients could be an important step forward in the design of new anti-TB drugs.

Under a magnification of 15549x, this colorized scanning electron micrograph (SEM) shows a number of Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.
Credit: CDC/Janice Carr

The discovery of a large number of slow-growing Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, which cause tuberculosis (TB), in the lungs of TB patients could be an important step forward in the design of new anti-TB drugs.

Until now it was thought that M. tuberculosis bacteria in the lungs of TB patients were rapidly multiplying. However recent research by Dr Simon Waddell and colleagues from St George's University of London and the University of Leicester, using gene chips to look at how TB bacteria behave in different environments, revealed that the tuberculosis bacteria in the sputum (phlegm coughed from the lungs) of TB patients resemble bacteria that are growing very slowly or hardly at all.

This has caused concern, as slowly growing bacteria are non-responsive to treatment with isoniazid, one of the main antibiotics used to treat TB. This may be the reason why it takes six months to treat pulmonary TB successfully, whereas most bacterial infections are treated in days. This prolonged treatment often leads people to stop taking their medicines early or only to take them intermittently, which can cause relapses and the emergence of antibiotic resistance.

"Our observations imply that either a large number of the infecting bacteria in the lungs are not multiplying rapidly as previously suggested; or the bacteria are adapting by not growing when they are coughed from the lungs into the air," said Dr Waddell, presenting his findings at the Society for General Microbiology meeting at Harrogate March 30.

"We need to find out how bacteria respond during infection and after drug treatment to understand how bacteria become tolerant to antibiotics. This will provide alternative opportunities for the development of better drugs that the world desperately needs to combat the growing health threat of TB."

Tuberculosis kills around 1.7 million people each year, equating to 4,500 deaths a day, or someone dying of TB every 19 seconds. Approximately one third of the world's population are infected with tuberculosis bacteria (~2 billion people), of which around one in ten will develop active disease.

Current antibiotic treatment for M. tuberculosis involves a minimum of 3 drugs over a 6-month period (isoniazid, rifampicin and pyrazinamide for 2 months, followed by isoniazid and rifampicin for a further 4 months). Multidrug-resistant TB (MDR-TB), resistant to two front line drugs, and extensively-drug resistant TB (XDR-TB), resistant to at least two front line drugs and two others, have recently become major clinical problems.

It is estimated by the WHO (World Health Organisation) that there are around 500,000 new cases of MDR-TB per year, and 40,000 new cases of XDR-TB. The need for new drugs to treat TB is greater now than ever.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "Slow-growing TB Bacteria Point The Way To New Drug Development." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205447.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2009, March 31). Slow-growing TB Bacteria Point The Way To New Drug Development. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205447.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "Slow-growing TB Bacteria Point The Way To New Drug Development." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090329205447.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Cognitive Function: Is It All Downhill From Age 24?

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) A new study out of Canada says cognitive motor performance begins deteriorating around age 24. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

How Mt. Everest Helped Scientists Research Diabetes

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) British researchers were able to use Mount Everest's low altitudes to study insulin resistance. They hope to find ways to treat diabetes. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Carpenter's Injury Leads To Hundreds Of 3-D-Printed Hands

Newsy (Apr. 14, 2014) Richard van As lost all fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident. Now, he's used the incident to create a prosthetic to help hundreds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins