Preventing tuberculosis reactivation

Oct 18, 2007

Tuberculosis (TB) is the leading cause of death due to infectious disease in the world today. It is estimated that 2 billion people are currently infected, and although most people have latent infection, reactivation can occur. This paper by Denise Kirschner and colleagues, publishing in PLoS Computational Biology, conducts virtual clinical trials to examine the causes of reactivation.

Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF) is a protein that facilitates cell–cell communication during an inflammatory immune response. Animal models have shown that TNF is vital for control of TB infection. However, anti-TNF treatments are common therapies for treating autoimmune diseases, and this can cause an unwanted side effect of reactivating latent TB. Kirschner has developed a computational model that can quickly perform virtual clinical trials to predict why reactivation occurs and why it happens differently with different drugs.

Their results suggest that anti-TNF therapy is highly likely to lead to many incidents of TB if used in areas where exposure to the TB pathogen is probable. However, they also propose that a TNF-modulating agent could be developed that could balance the requirement for reduction of inflammation with the necessity to maintain resistance to infection and microbial disease. In the mean time, modifying the dosage and timing of anti-TNF treatment could prevent reactivation, as could a complete regimen of antibiotic treatment for TB prior to anti-TNF treatment.

Source: Public Library of Science

Explore further: Heat blamed for spray vaccine's failure against swine flu

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

NY surveying banks on cyber security defenses

1 hour ago

(AP)—New York financial regulators are considering tougher cyber security requirements for banks to mandate more complex computer sign-ins and certifications from the contractors of their cyber defenses, the state's top ...

Life-saving train design is rarely used

2 hours ago

(AP)—Nearly a decade ago, the U.S. secretary of transportation stood at the site of a horrendous commuter train crash near downtown Los Angeles and called for the adoption of a new train car design that ...

Climate change may flatten famed surfing waves

2 hours ago

On a summer day in 1885, three Hawaiian princes surfed at the mouth of the San Lorenzo River on crudely constructed boards made from coastal redwoods, bringing the sport to the North American mainland.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.