Tuberculosis drug shows promise against latent bacteria

Sep 12, 2008

A new study has shown that an investigational drug (R207910, currently in clinical trials against multi-drug resistant tuberculosis strains) is quite effective at killing latent bacteria. This revelation suggests that R207910 may lead to improved and shortened treatments for this globally prevalent disease.

Despite numerous treatment advances, tuberculosis (TB) remains a serious disease –fueled by co-infection of HIV patients, the rise of drug-resistant strains, and the ability of Mycobacterium tuberculosis to become dormant and linger in the lungs. In fact, one third of the world population is infected, asymptomatically, with latent TB and is at risk of developing active TB disease during their life time.

Anil Koul and colleagues at Johnson & Johnson tested R207910 on dormant M. tuberculosis in three different laboratory models of latency. R207910 targets a protein (ATP synthase) essential for making cellular energy (ATP) in actively replicating TB. The researchers reasoned that even dormant bacteria, which are essentially physiologically "turned off", still need to produce small quantities of ATP to survive. As such, a block in ATP synthesis might be an Achilles heel for killing dormant bacteria.

This reasoning proved to be correct and R207190 was able to kill dormant bacteria by greater than 95% whereas current drugs like isoniazid had no effect. Surprisingly, they found that R207910 is slightly more effective in killing dormant bacteria as compared to actively replicating ones, a unique spin as all known TB drugs are more effective on replicating bugs. Koul and colleagues hope to validate these results clinically, and note that ATP synthase should be looked at as a drug target for other persistent bacterial infections.

Citation: "Diarylquinolines are bactericidal for dormant mycobacteria as a result of disturbed ATP homeostasis" by Anil Koul, Luc Vranckx, Najoua Dendouga, Wendy Balemans, Ilse Van den Wyngaert, Karen Vergauwen, Hinrich Göhlmann, Rudy Willebrords, Alain Poncelet, Jerome Guillemont, Dirk Bald and Koen Andries

Article URL: www.jbc.org/cgi/content/full/283/37/25273

Source: American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Explore further: More than a quarter of emergency contraceptives in Peru falsified or substandard

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Study recalculates costs of combination vaccines

Apr 17, 2014

One of the most popular vaccine brands for children may not be the most cost-effective choice. And doctors may be overlooking some cost factors when choosing vaccines, driving the market toward what is actually a more expensive ...

Drug watchdog urges vigilance in cancer drug theft

Apr 17, 2014

Europe's medicine watchdog urged doctors Thursday to be vigilant in administering the cancer drug Herceptin, vials of which had been stolen in Italy and tampered with before being sold back into the supply chain.

User comments : 0

More news stories

UAE reports 12 new cases of MERS

Health authorities in the United Arab Emirates have announced 12 new cases of infection by the MERS coronavirus, but insisted the patients would be cured within two weeks.

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...