Sunday, April 19, 2009

A New approach for the TB drug discovery ?

We are aware that the development of new drugs to combat tuberculosis (TB) has become urgent, as strains of TB resistant to all major anti-TB drugs have emerged worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that one third of the world's population is asymptomatically infected with TB and that ten percent will eventually develop the disease. More over people with HIV are more prone to TB and hence the need is urgent. As it has happened in other fields of drug discoveries, its something really interesting now it’s the turn of TB drugs, thanx to Barbara Gerratana, Asst., Prof.,. of Chemistry and Biochemistry, university's College of Chemical and Life Sciences, Maryland for their achievement. The significance of the research lies in the fact that the NAD+ synthetase enzyme is essential for the survival of the tuberculosis bacteria and hence it can be considered as a drug target.”. So even the structure based inhibitors specific for M. tuberculosis NAD+ synthetase, can be tried and tested for the tuberculosis activity.

Even the experts are really happy over the outcome of the research and following are the lines of appreciation from Clifton E. Barry, Chief of the Tuberculosis Research Section of the Intramural Research Division of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases “NadE [NAD+ synthetase] represents one of a small handful of TB drug targets that has iron-clad validation, the lack of a crystal structure was the only serious impediment to drug development and this study represents a hugely important step forward. Inhibiting NadE even kills non-replicating cells, so this discovery may well benefit the one-third of the human population that carries latent bacteria.".

Most interesting part of the research is the fact that “there are only two pathways involved in producing NAD+ in the tuberculosis bacterium and both depend on the activity of NAD+ synthetase to obtain NAD+ (unlike in human beings, where in several different complex pathways..). One can target these two pathways and get good drugs, those are essential and there by one can overcome the drawbacks of the present drugs (current treatment of tuberculosis targets the active tuberculosis bacterium and has little effect on the non-replicating bacterium). Once again congrats for the research group……

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