Navigation Links
New approach for tuberculosis drugs

Consumption was one of the worst known diseases of the 18th century. Thanks to medical advances, the number of deaths from this lung disease which is today known as tuberculosis has declined significantly. Efforts to eradicate the disease in the 1950s and 1960s resulted in a wide range of new drugs entering the market.

And yet 1.4 million people still continue to die each year from tuberculosis. Multidrug-resistant strains of the disease-causing pathogen are especially dangerous because they can no longer be treated with today's drugs (see box). "In the past 50 years, only one new tuberculosis drug has come on to the market, and that was in 2012," says Karl-Heinz Altmann, Professor of Pharmaceutical Biology at ETH Zurich. New active substances that are able to kill multidrug-resistant strains of the disease are therefore urgently needed. Altmann and his team have now laid the foundation for new tuberculosis drugs, and they were inspired by a bacteria-derived antibiotic called pyridomycin.

New design for greater efficacy

Pyridomycin inhibits the growth of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis, but it is degraded relatively quickly and is therefore ineffective. However, by using the structure of pyridomycin, Altmann and his research group have designed a molecule that has several advantages over the natural active substance. The new molecule is more stable and is easier to produce synthetically; it can also serve as a lead structure for the synthesis and biological testing of further modified versions of the active substance. Drugs could eventually be developed that work efficiently and are well tolerated. They could also be be adapted such as to overcome new drug-resistant strains of the tuberculosis pathogen. The researchers have applied for a patent for the new active substance's basic structure and the method of production.

The researchers found inspiration from a long forgotten substance. In 1953, Japanese scientists discovered that pyridomycin inhibits the growth of the tuberculosis pathogen Mycobacterium tuberculosis. But the compound was not investigated further for decades thereafter. "Everyone behaved as though the tuberculosis problem was solved," says Altmann. While researching the literature, he came across the pyridomycin and worked together with a research team led by Stewart Cole, a professor of microbial pathogenesis at EPFL, to decode how it works. It paralyses an important component of cellular metabolism, which is essential for building the cell wall of the tuberculosis pathogen. Although an available drug called isoniazid targets the same key protein , it must first be converted inside the tuberculosis bacteria into the actual inhibitor. Pyridomycin, in contrast, binds directly to the target protein and therefore circumvents pre-existing resistance mechanisms that prevent isoniazid from becoming activated. The new approach of the active substance enables a wide variety of structures for new drugs against tuberculosis.


Contact: News & Media Relations
ETH Zurich

Related biology news :

1. Stanford scientists develop gene therapy approach to grow blood vessels in ischemic limbs
2. A project to research biological and chemical aspects of microalgae to fuel approach
3. UofL research holds promise of therapeutic approach for gum disease
4. Approach to diabetes self-management too narrow, study suggests
5. Manatee hearing good enough to sense approaching motorboats
6. Scripps Florida scientist awarded $1.5 million to design therapeutics with new RNA approach
7. New approach to spell checking gene sequences
8. Powerful new approach to attack flu virus
9. Potential new approach to regenerating skeletal muscle tissue
10. Bugs have key role in farming approach to storing CO2 emissions
11. Computing advances vital to sustainability efforts; new report recommends problem-focused, iterative approach to research
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)...  The J. Craig Venter Institute (JCVI) policy group ... Biosecurity: Lessons Learned and Options for the Future," which ... Services guidance for synthetic biology providers has worked since ... --> --> Synthetic biology promises great ... pose unique biosecurity threats. It now is easier than ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... NXTD ) ("NXT-ID" or ... the growing mobile commerce market and creator of ... leading marketplace to discover and buy innovative technology ... on StackSocial for this holiday season.   ... a biometric authentication company focused on the growing ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... Calif. , Oct. 27, 2015 Synaptics Inc. ... solutions, today announced that Google has adopted the Synaptics ... touch controller solutions to power its newest flagship smartphones, ... by Huawei. --> ... like Google to provide strategic collaboration in the joint ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... InSphero AG, ... 3D cell culture models, has promoted Melanie Aregger to serve as Chief Operating Officer. ... Aregger served on the management team and was promoted to Head of ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW Telbec/ - ProMetic Life ... announced today that Mr. Pierre Laurin , President and ... presentation at the upcoming Piper Jaffray 27 th Annual ... Hotel, on December 1-2, 2015. st , ... for one-on-one meetings throughout the day. The presentation will be ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Va. , Nov. 24, 2015 ... focused on discovering drugs for metabolic disorders, announced ... to its Board of Directors (BOD). Mr. ... officer of Human Genome Sciences (HGS), and also ... Organization. Jim Powers , Chairman and ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... NEW YORK , November 24, 2015 ... in a European healthcare ... in which the companies will work closely together in identifying ... of unmet medical need. The collaboration is underpinned by a ... LSP fund. This is the first investment by Bristol-Myers Squibb ...
Breaking Biology Technology: