LA JOLLA, CA June 17, 2013 An international team led by scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University has identified a highly promising new anti-tuberculosis compound that attacks the tuberculosis (TB) bacterium in two different ways.
"These findings represent an effort to help solve one of the major global health crises of our timethe resurgence of TB and its dangerous drug-resistant strains," said Peter G. Schultz, the Scripps Family Chair Professor of Chemistry at TSRI, who was senior author of the study with William R. Jacobs, Jr., member of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor of microbiology & immunology and of genetics at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
"In cell cultures and in mice, this compound showed powerful activity against ordinary active TB bacteria, non-replicating TB bacteria and even extensively drug-resistant TB strains," said Feng Wang, a member of the Schultz lab at TSRI and first author of the study with Dhinakaran Sambandan of the Jacobs lab and Rajkumar Halder of the Schultz lab.
The paper appears in this week online ahead of print in an Early Edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Global Health Crisis
Although isoniazid and rifampin, the two front-line TB drugs, came into use in 1952 and 1967 respectively, new TB infections still occur at the rate of roughly one per second. At any moment about a third of the existing human population is infectedmostly with inactive, latent TB, although active TB still kills over one million people each year. Russia, Africa, China and Southeast Asia have been especially hard hit by the epidemic.
Increased urbanization, public health complacency and immunity-weakening HIV have been major enablers of TB's spread in recent decades. But the bacterium that causes TBMycobacterium tuberculosis<
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Scripps Research Institute