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.

Related Articles


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 November 23, 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 November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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