Dr. Gumbo's team found that the drug concentrations typically used to treat children with TB are too low and that children respond differently to the standardized medication depending partly on their age and how quickly their bodies metabolize the drug.
"Despite the desire for standardized therapy, our findings support the long-held notion that there is no 'average' or 'standard' child. It is safe to assume that with 2.2 billion children worldwide, there will be 2.2 billion different regimens needed to effectively treat tuberculosis," Dr. Gumbo said.
He said the importance of the findings is that they can be applied to many other infections, including methicillin-resistant-Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA.
"This is the future, even for adults," Dr. Gumbo said. "Being able to individualize what drug someone gets and what dose this is the future of medicine."
Dr. Gumbo's research is funded by a 2007 NIH Director's New Innovator Award, which supports bold ideas from some of the nation's most innovative early-career scientists.
Dr. Jotam Pasipanodya, research scientist in internal medicine at UT Southwestern, and researchers from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the Kwa-Zulu Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV in South Africa also contributed to the study.
|Contact: Kristen Holland Shear|
UT Southwestern Medical Center