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Homogeneous tuberculosis treatment ineffective in children, UT Southwestern researchers find
Date:2/10/2011

DALLAS Feb. 10, 2011 The realization of medically treating different children uniquely may start with one of the deadliest diseases in existence: tuberculosis.

New findings by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers indicate that the type of medications and the dosage routinely used to treat children with the disease should be individualized to each young patient in order to be effective.

The findings, available online and in the February issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy, show that currently recommended doses are much too low and that a child's weight, age and medical history are among a myriad of factors that can affect his or her response to a particular drug used to combat the Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacterium, which causes the disease.

"Children are growing and changing and, unlike in adults, Mycobacterium tuberculosis manifests itself in children as many different diseases, causing problems all over the body," said Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, associate professor of internal medicine at UT Southwestern and the study's lead author. "Since their immune systems are not yet fully developed, you also have to take into consideration whether a particular drug will reach the part of the body affected by the disease.

"If you aggregate all these factors age, weight, medical history, disease process it's pretty clear that you need to treat each child differently instead of following the standard dosing guidelines."

About one-third of the world's population is infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis and 2 million people die from the disease each year. TB, the leading cause of death among people infected with HIV/AIDS, kills more people than any other disease caused by a single infectious agent, according to the National Institutes of Health. Treatment usually lasts six to 12 months and includes a combination of drugs administered simultaneously, in hopes of preventing drug resistance.

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Contact: Kristen Holland Shear
kristen.hollandshear@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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