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New approach for tuberculosis drugs
Date:7/2/2014

tance. 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.


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