Progress Towards Treatment for Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis

Addition of drug counteracted the tolerance of tuberculosis to another anti-tubercular drug.

Researchers were able to create a genetic blueprint of multi-drug resistant and extremely drug resistant Mycobacterium tuberculosis (MTB), which can be used to predict possible treatment targets.

According to a study published in Nature Microbiology, MTB is able to alter gene expression to counteract the immune system and drugs. This allows the drug to mutate and evolve into more resistant strains.

"The incredibly large number of possible drug combinations taken together with the difficulty of growing MTB in the laboratory make discovery of effective combination therapy extremely challenging,” said senior study author Nitin Baliga, PhD. “We hope that our systems-based strategy will accelerate TB drug discovery by helping researchers prioritize combinations that are more likely to be effective.”

In a previous study, researchers created a genome-wide regulatory network model that predicted how MTB senses and responds to factors such as anti-tubercular drugs. In the current study, researchers used this model to see how MTB tolerated the drug bedaquiline, and how pretomanid could counteract resistance to the first drug.

Researchers were able to confirm the mechanism of combined action of the 2 drugs, according to the study.

The findings from this study could potentially accelerate towards novel drug-resistant tuberculosis drugs, the researchers concluded.