Discovery could aid tuberculosis treatment: study
Wednesday 27 April 2011
Scientists have isolated the enzyme that allows tuberculosis to destroy lung tissue, a discovery that could speed the search for treatments, said a US-British study published Monday.
Tuberculosis is a highly contagious and often fatal disease that kills two million people worldwide each year. Even though the disease has been around for thousands of years, scientists are only now learning how it works.
The enzyme that drives the destruction of lung tissue is called MMP-1, and enzyme-inhibitors are already available which could be used to treat it, said the study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
"Standard TB treatment has remained unchanged for 35 years, and no current treatments prevent the lung destruction that TB causes," said study co-author Paul Elkington from Imperial College London.
"These findings suggest that drugs available now might be able to reduce deaths from TB."
Tuberculosis is caused by a bacterium, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which gets into the lungs and causes coughing. That spreads the bacteria in the air where it can infiltrate other people's lungs.
The only treatments available are lengthy antibiotic regimens, which may not work against drug-resistant strains.
But another avenue has shown promise, according to the study.
Researchers treated human cells infected with TB - which were associated with a boost in the enzyme MMP-1 in the lungs - in the lab with an MMP inhibitor that has been proven safe for humans in clinical trials to treat arthritis.
"We demonstrate that Ro32-3555, a compound that has been used in phase III clinical trials for arthritis, can suppress M. tuberculosis-driven MMP-1 activity," said the study.
"Therefore we believe it represents a novel therapeutic target to limit immunopathology."
Drugs that act by inhibiting MMP enzymes were widely developed in the 1990s as some showed early promise against cancer.
The researchers said more studies are needed to demonstrate whether MMP inhibitors can prevent lung damage from TB on a larger scale.
peopleContenders for Time magazine's Person of the Year are a mixture of the good, the bad and the holy
tvSteven Moffat reveals the actor was dying to take on the role of the Time Lord and says he is excited to see what he will do with the character
sportBayern Munich 2 Manchester City 3: City come from two down to beat reigning European Champions
newsAs the world remembers Mandela the hero, the prison where he spent 27 years seems all the more brutal
arts + ents... and a chance to paint Booker Prize winning author Hilary Mantel
danceUnder Tamara Rojo's inspired direction, it seems possible that it could challenge the dominance of the Royal Ballet. We meet some established names and rising stars
travelDiscover Uruguay's jet-set beach resort, an Atlantic enclave with plenty of art and culture to explore on the side
Life & Style blogs
Low-cost metal 3D printer could be the next step in home manufacturing revolution
$183,000 fine for man who joined Anonymous attack for 'one minute'
People who drink alcohol outlive those who abstain, study shows
Exercise most effective lifestyle choice for preventing dementia, researchers say
GTA 5 update: Content Creator released, online heists and story mode updates coming soon
- 1 Mountain goats' miraculous escape from avalanche captured in dramatic video footage
- 2 It’s shameful that our universities have accepted gender segregation under pressure from the most oppressive religious fanatics
- 3 Sir Ian McKellen hits back at Damian Lewis' 'fruity actor' claims
- 4 Kenyan politician Mike Sonko left red-faced after photoshopping himself next to Nelson Mandela
- 5 Selfie at funeral: Cameron squeezes in on Obama snap at Mandela memorial
- < Previous
- Next >
£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Harrington Starr: Junior/Grad C# .NET Wi...
Negotiable: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (VB6,.NET, SQL, Winforms) Wokin...
£35999 - £44001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: A Top Tier practi...
£41000 - £46000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Academically Exce...