Friday, May 7, 2010

Eliminating inherent drug resistance in tuberculosis....

In continuation of my update on drug resistant TB and the drug development for TB, I found this info interesting to share with.

Dr. John Blanchard of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine has come up with really  interesting  findings about how to "eliminate inherent drug resistance in tuberculosis".   

When the M. tuberculosis genome was sequenced a few years ago, the presence of  beta-lactamase enzyme was discovered. Most scientists didn't pay much attention to this discovery and beta-lactams   never have been systematically used to treat TB. However Dr. John,  thought it would be an attractive therapeutic target, considering several beta-lactamase inhibitors had been developed for other bacteria.

If we could inactivate this inactivator enzyme, it would expose TB bacteria to a whole new range of antibiotics," he says. 
While M. tuberculosis was resistant to most beta-lactamase inhibitors,  Blanchard's group found that the drug clavulanate was effective in shutting down the TB enzyme. 

The combination of clavulanate (see above right structure- its potassium salt) with the beta-lactam   meropenem (see below: left structure) could effectively sterilize laboratory cultures of TB within two weeks, including several XDR-strains (XDR strains are even more resilient than multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains).  Blanchard notes this finding was exciting since, despite such high rates of drug resistance, research into new TB drugs is not a high priority in industrialized countries (for socio-economic reasons), and thus the best short-term approach might be identifying other already FDA approved antibiotics that are effective against TB -like meropenem and clavulanate.

Blanchard is currently progressing with the next steps of the therapeutic process, which includes both detailed animal studies and setting up some small-scale trials with XDR-TB patients in developing nations...

(Source : a presentation at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s annual meeting, titled “Drug resistance in tuberculosis,” by Dr. John Blanchard).

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