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SRI Researchers Validate Preclinical Effectiveness of Tuberculosis Drug Target that Could Shorten Treatment Time

MENLO PARK, Calif., Nov. 29, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- In research at SRI International, scientists evaluating new drug targets against tuberculosis (TB) recently validated the preclinical effectiveness of a target that could rapidly eliminate infections and potentially shorten treatment time. The new drug target is a protein called DNA gyrase B, found in bacteria that cause TB infections.

DNA gyrase is an enzyme consisting of two subunits: gyrase A and gyrase B. Although gyrase A is often the target of antibiotics, such as ciprofloxacin, there currently is no antibiotic on the market that targets gyrase B. In laboratory experiments, SRI researchers found that by targeting gyrase B, TB bacteria are killed whether they are replicating or dormant. Further studies will be conducted toward the development of a TB drug against gyrase B.  

"One of the greatest needs in infectious disease treatment is a drug that allows a shorter length of treatment," said Peter Madrid, Ph.D., program director in the Center for Infectious Disease and Biodefense Research, SRI Biosciences Division. "Though our program is still in the preclinical phase of research, with a number of years of required testing ahead, our goal is to develop a drug that will improve the treatment process for TB patients."

TB patients currently undergo treatment for six months and take a combination of at least four different drugs. There are often challenges to treatment effectiveness because of the long treatment time, including low patient treatment compliance and high rates of drug resistance. Tuberculosis that is resistant to multiple drugs takes even longer to treat, usually 18 to 24 months.

Research results are presented in the November 2011 Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy in a paper titled "Evaluation of Gyrase B as a Drug Target in Mycobacterium tuberculosis."

The project described was supported by Award Numbers R56AI090817 and U01AI082070 from the National Institute of Allergy And Infectious Diseases. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases or the National Institutes of Health.

About SRI's Biosciences Division
SRI's Biosciences Division carries out basic research, drug discovery, and drug development, and provides contract services. SRI has all of the resources necessary to take R&D from Idea to IND®—from initial discovery to the start of human clinical trials—and specializes in cancer, immunology and inflammation, infectious disease, and neuroscience. SRI's product pipeline has yielded marketed drugs, therapeutics currently in clinical trials, and additional programs in earlier stages. In its CRO business, SRI has helped government and other clients and partners advance well over 100 drugs into patient testing. SRI is also working to create the next generation of technologies in areas such as diagnostics, drug delivery, medical devices, and systems biology.

About SRI International
Silicon Valley-based SRI International, a nonprofit research and development organization, performs sponsored R&D for governments, businesses, and foundations. SRI brings its innovations to the marketplace through technology licensing, new products, and spin-off ventures. Commemorating its 65th anniversary in 2011, SRI is known for world-changing innovations in computing, health and pharmaceuticals, chemistry and materials, sensing, energy, education, national defense, and more.

SOURCE SRI International
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