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Weill Cornell receives $2.4 million in grants from Gates Foundation to fight tuberculosis
Date:12/12/2007

NEW YORK (Dec. 12, 2007) -- Weill Cornell Medical College has received two grants totaling $2.4 million from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to help fight tuberculosis, an epidemic that infects one-third of the world's people and kills nearly two million yearly -- mostly in the poorest countries.

The grants will support research towards developing innovative TB drugs that are more effective than current treatment options. Even the best available TB drugs require difficult and lengthy regimens and are increasingly losing their effectiveness; last year there were more than 400,000 cases of drug-resistant TB. In addition, there is a need for faster-acting TB drugs; current drugs must be taken for at least six months to be fully effective. Many patients, for various reasons, do not complete the full course of treatment, which leads to the development of drug-resistance in Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the organism that causes TB.

"We are very grateful to the Gates Foundation for supporting our efforts to fight tuberculosis," says Dr. Antonio M. Gotto Jr., the Stephen and Suzanne Weiss Dean of Weill Cornell Medical College. "This important work is also made possible using the advanced technology available at our Abby and Howard P. Milstein Chemistry Core Facility, which opened last year."

"These grants support research focused on testing many existing chemical compounds for their potential ability to kill or interfere with the organism that causes TB. We already know of and use some compounds that kill or weaken TB pathogens when they are in the replicating phase. Being able to kill TB organisms in their non-replicating phase, which represents most of their existence, will be key to shortening curative TB therapy from the current six months (or longer) to perhaps just a couple of weeks," says Dr. Carl. F. Nathan, chairman of the Department of Microbiology and Immunology, and R.A. Rees Pritchett Professor of Microbiology at Weill Cornell
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Contact: Andrew Klein
ank2017@med.cornell.edu
212-821-0560
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College
Source:Eurekalert

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