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UT Southwestern research suggests new way to ensure effectiveness of TB treatment
Date:12/28/2011

DALLAS Dec. 22, 2011 A UT Southwestern Medical Center study using a sophisticated "glass mouse" research model has found that multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) is more likely caused in patients by speedy drug metabolism rather than inconsistent doses, as is widely believed.

If the study published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases is borne out in future investigations, it may lead to better ways to treat one of the world's major infectious diseases. Health workers worldwide currently are required to witness each administration of the combination of drugs during months of therapy.

"Tuberculosis is a common ailment, accounting for up to 3 percent of all deaths in many countries. Although effective therapy exists, there are still cases of treatment failure and drug resistance remains a threat," said Dr. Tawanda Gumbo, associate professor of internal medicine and senior author of the study.

The results seem to challenge the current approach endorsed by the World Health Organization. Under that method, directly observed therapy-short-course strategy (DOTS), TB that responds to medication is treated with a cocktail of drugs under the supervision of health care workers, who in many countries must travel to isolated villages a costly and time-consuming process.

"Every TB patient is supposed to be watched as they swallow their pills in order to increase adherence and decrease emergence of drug resistance. This is the most expensive part of the program, but has been felt to be cost-effective since it improves compliance," said Dr. Gumbo, administrative director of research programs for the Office of Global Health at UT Southwestern.

In this study, UT Southwestern researchers created a sophisticated system of high-tech test tubes, which they called a "glass mouse," that mimicked standard therapy being given daily for 28 to 56 days, with dosing adherence varying between 0 percent and 100 percent. The threshold
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Contact: Deborah Wormser
deborah.wormser@utsouthwestern.edu
214-648-3404
UT Southwestern Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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