New hope for improved TB treatments

Researchers at the University of Southampton have identified new markers of tuberculosis (TB) that may help in the development of new diagnostic tests and treatments.

Published online in the Journal of Infectious Diseases, the study investigated the proteins that are released by a break down of the lung structure in TB patients. Lung damage causes both transmission of infection and mortality.

They found that fragments released by break down of the lung's key proteins (collagen and elastin), are increased in the sputum of patients with TB. They also discovered that one particular collagen fragment, PIIINP, was elevated in from patients with TB.

Dr Paul Elkington, from the University of Southampton who led the study, believes that these new markers could be used to screen individuals and halt transmission between .

He says: "Tuberculosis continues to kill almost one and a half million people worldwide and is becoming increasingly resistant to drugs used to treat it. First-line TB tests and treatments in the developing world have not changed for over 30 years.

"These lung breakdown products have never been identified in TB before, and have the potential to be used as new markers to identify patients with TB and monitor the effect of new treatments on . This may permit population screening to find and treat highly infectious individuals to break the cycle of transmission, especially in developing world countries where TB is most prominent."

The research was carried out in collaboration with Imperial College London and in South Africa at the University of Cape Town and the KwaZulu-Natal Research Institute for Tuberculosis and HIV (K-RITH) in Durban. It was primarily funded by the Wellcome Trust and K-RITH.

The team are now investigating all fragments released by lung destruction to develop new test kits that can be done at the patient's bedside.

Bill Bishai, Director of the K-RITH, comments: "This study is a major step forward towards finding improved tests for diagnosing TB and for determining whether the TB is improving with therapy or worsening with therapy as such would be seen when patients have resistant TB. Improved are desperately needed, not only to improve patient care in resource-poor countries, but also to accelerate clinical trials with new therapies."

More information: Procollagen III N-terminal propeptide and desmosine are released by matrix destruction in pulmonary tuberculosis, Journal of Infectious Diseases, 2013.

Related Stories

Potential new drug for tuberculosis

date Aug 05, 2013

A new drug capable of inhibiting growth of Mycobacterium tuberculosis is reported this week in Nature Medicine. The findings may improve therapeutic options for the treatment of drug resistant tuberculosis (TB). ...

Still long delays in diagnosing TB and HIV

date May 31, 2013

It still takes a long time for TB and HIV patients in Uganda to be properly diagnosed. As a result, many patients are infectious without knowing it themselves. These diagnostic delays, and also adherence ...

Recommended for you

Score IDs patients with upper extremity DVT at low risk

date 10 hours ago

(HealthDay)—For patients with upper-extremity deep vein thrombosis (DVT), six easily available factors can be used to create a score that identifies those at low risk of adverse events during the first ...

Combined drug treatment combats kidney disease

date 21 hours ago

A recent discovery by drug researchers whereby coupling specific cell membrane receptors has altered kidney cell function has triggered a re-think of how to treat chronic kidney disease (CKD) more effectively.

Active substance targeting dreaded hospital germs

date 21 hours ago

In the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), scientists have conducted clinical studies on an active substance against the dreaded hospital pathogen Staphylococcus aureus: a highly effective protein from bacteriophages ...

User comments

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.