A centuries-old herbal medicine, discovered by Chinese scientists and used to effectively treat malaria, has been found to potentially aid in the treatment of tuberculosis and may slow the evolution of drug resistance.
In a promising study led by Robert Abramovitch, a Michigan State University microbiologist and TB expert, the ancient remedy artemisinin stopped the ability of TB-causing bacteria, known as Mycobacterium tuberculosis, to become dormant. This stage of the disease often makes the use of antibiotics ineffective.
The study is published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology.
“When TB bacteria are dormant, they become highly tolerant to antibiotics,” Abramovitch said, an assistant professor in the College of Veterinary Medicine. “Blocking dormancy makes the TB bacteria more sensitive to these drugs and could shorten treatment times.”
One-third of the world’s population is infected with TB and the disease killed 1.8 million people in 2015, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mycobacterium tuberculosis, or Mtb, needs oxygen to thrive in the body. The immune system starves this bacterium of oxygen to control the infection. Abramovitch and his team found that artemisinin attacks a molecule called heme, which is found in the Mtb oxygen sensor. By disrupting this sensor and essentially turning it off, the artemisinin stopped the disease’s ability to sense how much oxygen it was getting.
“When the Mtb is starved of oxygen, it goes into a dormant state, which protects it from the stress of low-oxygen environments,” Abramovitch said. “If Mtb can’t sense low oxygen, then it can’t become dormant and will die.”
Abramovitch indicated that dormant TB can remain inactive for decades in the body. But if the immune system weakens at some point, it can wake back up and spread. Whether it wakes up or stays ‘asleep’ though, he said TB can take up to six months to treat and is one of the main reasons the disease is so difficult to control.
“Patients often don’t stick to the treatment regimen because of the length of time it takes to cure the disease,” he said. “Incomplete therapy plays an important role in the evolution and spread of multi-drug resistant TB strains.”
He said the research could be key to shortening the course of therapy because it can clear out the dormant, hard-to-kill bacteria. This could lead to improving patient outcomes and slowing the evolution of drug-resistant TB.
After screening 540,000 different compounds, Abramovitch also found five other possible chemical inhibitors that target the Mtb oxygen sensor in various ways and could be effective in treatment as well.
“Two billion people worldwide are infected with Mtb,” Abramovitch said. “TB is a global problem that requires new tools to slow its spread and overcome drug resistance. This new method of targeting dormant bacteria is exciting because it shows us a new way to kill it. ”
Learn more: ANCIENT CHINESE MALARIA REMEDY FIGHTS TB
Receive an email update when we add a new TUBERCULOSIS article.
The Latest on: Tuberculosis
via Google News
The Latest on: Tuberculosis
- AHS warns of possible tuberculosis exposure at Calgary day care on April 17, 2019 at 10:43 am
Alberta Health Services says dozens of children and their parents may have been exposed to tuberculosis at a Calgary day care. The provincial health authority sent letters to 150 people Wednesday ... […]
- Confirmed tuberculosis case at Calgary daycare prompts alert from AHS on April 17, 2019 at 10:37 am
Alberta Health Services announced Wednesday that it has issued 150 letters to people who may have been exposed, or had their child exposed, to tuberculosis at an unidentified Calgary daycare. The only ... […]
- Alberta Health Services says 150 people potentially exposed to tuberculosis at Calgary daycare on April 17, 2019 at 9:56 am
CALGARY — Alberta Health Services says 150 people — including children — may have been exposed to a confirmed case of tuberculosis in the Calgary area. The agency issued notification letters on ... […]
- Tuberculosis exposure at Calgary-area daycare prompts warning letters from AHS on April 17, 2019 at 9:23 am
Notification letters have been sent to 150 individuals after parents and children were potentially exposed to a confirmed case of tuberculosis at a Calgary-area daycare. “Notification letters ... […]
- Tuberculosis: India’s Silent Epidemic on April 17, 2019 at 6:18 am
Aditi (name changed), 18, sat cross-legged on her private hospital bed in Kolkata. The black scarf covering her mouth did little to hide her emaciated face. Cheeks stained with long-dried tears ... […]
- Tuberculosis patients safely transported by Global Air Ambulance Chennai to CMC Vellore on April 17, 2019 at 6:11 am
(MENAFN - Global Air Ambulance) Wednesday, April 17, 2019:- Let's get some information about tuberculosis infections, so we all know that it is a bacterial infection and a serious issue that does ... […]
- Student at Monroe College in New Rochelle diagnosed with tuberculosis on April 16, 2019 at 7:00 pm
NEW ROCHELLE, Westchester County (WABC) -- A student at a college in Westchester County has been diagnosed with tuberculosis. The county health department said the student at Monroe College in New ... […]
- Westchester College Student Diagnosed With Tuberculosis: Health Department on April 16, 2019 at 6:02 pm
A student at a college in Westchester County has been diagnosed with active tuberculosis, the county’s health department said. The student, who attends Monroe College’s New Rochelle campus, is ... […]
- For centuries, scientists sought a tuberculosis cure. A Passaic man found it in the dirt. on April 16, 2019 at 5:25 pm
For centuries, scientists sought a tuberculosis cure. A Passaic man found it in the dirt. Growing up in Passaic, Albert Schatz saw his neighbors die of tuberculosis. He found the cure, and changed ... […]
via Bing News