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Promising class of antibiotics discovered for treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis
Date:1/27/2014

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists have discovered a promising new class of antibiotics that could aid efforts to overcome drug-resistance in tuberculosis (TB), a global killer. The drugs increased survival of mice infected with TB and were effective against drug-resistant strains of TB. St. Jude led the international research effort, results of which appear in the current issue of the journal Nature Medicine.

The antibiotics, called spectinamides, were created by changing the chemical structure of an existing antibiotic, spectinomycin, which does not work against TB.

In multiple trials of mice with both active and chronic TB infections, researchers report that one version of the new drugan analog known as 1599was as good as or better than current TB drugs at reducing levels of the bacteria in the lungs of mice. In addition, 1599 caused no serious side effects.

"This study demonstrates how classic antibiotics derived from natural products can be redesigned to create semi-synthetic compounds to overcome drug resistance," said corresponding author Richard Lee, Ph.D., a member of the St. Jude Department of Chemical Biology and Therapeutics. "I hope the result will be drugs that are more effective against tuberculosis and offer a faster route to a cure with fewer side effects."

TB remains a leading cause of global illness and death. The latest data from the World Health Organization estimates that TB kills 1.3 million persons annually and sickens 8.6 million worldwide. Current treatment requires months of multi-drug therapy to eradicate the slow-growing bacterium, which can lie dormant for years without causing symptoms and results in hard to treat chronic or latent infections. The rise of multi-drug resistant TB, including strains reportedly resistant to all available medications, has further complicated treatment.

This new class of antibiotics works against TB by disrupting the function of a pa
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Contact: Summer Freeman
summer.freeman@stjude.org
901-595-3061
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital
Source:Eurekalert  

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