Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Antifungal drug kills TB bug

12.03.2007
Scientists hoping to find new treatments for one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases say drugs used to treat common fungal infections may provide the answer.

Tuberculosis, or TB, is a highly contagious disease of the lungs that was thought to have been virtually eliminated by the 1960s, but is now resurgent and kills nearly two million people worldwide every year. New infections are occurring at a rate of one per second.

Of equal concern is the dramatic rise in the incidence of new strains of TB that are resistant to traditional antibiotics. As a result, the World Health Organisation, the Bill Gates Foundation and the European Union have all launched initiatives to tackle the problem.

Now, biologists at The University of Manchester have shown that chemicals called azoles – the active agent in many antifungal drugs – kill the TB bacteria, and could be effective in tackling the emerging drug-resistant strains.

... more about:
»P450 »TB bacterium »antibiotic »bug

“TB is back with a vengeance with a third of the world’s population currently infected,” said Professor Andrew Munro, who led the research in Manchester’s Faculty of Life Sciences.

“The bacterium survives the initial attack by the body’s immune system and then lies dormant, usually in the lungs, waiting for any sign of weakness, such as a secondary infection. Its resurgence over the last 20 years has been closely associated with the AIDS epidemic, which destroys the human immune system and has allowed TB to get a grip once again.”

London is the TB capital of Europe, although most large cities here and in North America have seen rapid increases in the number of TB infections. However, the problem is most acute in Africa and Asia where HIV/AIDS is also most prolific and a shortage of traditional TB medicines and problems with patient compliance has led to the emergence of drug-resistant strains of the disease.

“There were only ever a limited number of drugs that were effective against TB anyway,” said Professor Munro, who is based in the University’s £38 million Manchester Interdisciplinary Biocentre.

“People in places like India or Africa would be given antibiotics but often not in sufficient quantities to kill the bug completely; this is how resistant strains develop and these regions have become huge breeding grounds for these ‘super strains’.”

Funded by the EU’s NM4TB (new medicines for tuberculosis) project, the Manchester team set about trying to find alternative drugs that could be used to treat these multi-drug resistant varieties of TB, known as MDR-TB.

“We knew that the TB bacterium was a clever organism, able to evade the human immune system and to survive long-term, sometimes unnoticed, in the body. We also realised that these peculiar features of the TB bacterium must mean that there are ‘unusual’ aspects of its composition and biochemistry that set it apart from most other bacteria and that could provide new targets for antibiotic drugs.

“When we began looking at the bug and its DNA content in more detail, we noticed it had some unusual characteristics. In particular, we noted the presence of a very large number of enzymes called P450s, which are usually associated with more complex organisms.

“In humans, P450s oxygenate molecules in the body and are essential for steroid metabolism; they are also prevalent in the liver where they help us detoxify and dispose of countless chemicals and toxins that enter our system. Most bacteria have few, if any, P450s but we discovered that the TB bacterium has 20 different types.”

Even more exciting for the team was the knowledge that existing anti-fungal drugs already target P450s as a way to treat, for example, systemic and more superficial infections caused by fungi such as Candida albicans (the causative agent of thrush).

“The class of drugs called azoles are able to kill off fungal infections by blocking the actions of one of its P450s that is essential for maintaining the cell structure,” said Professor Munro. “We were able to show in laboratory experiments that various types of these azole drugs were also very good at killing the TB bacterium, and also that they bind very tightly to a number of the TB P450 enzymes that we have isolated – inactivating their function.”

The research – published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry – offers the potential of a whole new approach to fighting the TB bug and has already attracted interest from one major pharmaceutical company.

Aeron Haworth | alfa
Further information:
http://www.manchester.ac.uk

Further reports about: P450 TB bacterium antibiotic bug

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Cryo-electron microscopy achieves unprecedented resolution using new computational methods
24.03.2017 | DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

nachricht How cheetahs stay fit and healthy
24.03.2017 | Forschungsverbund Berlin e.V.

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>