This World Tuberculosis Day, we're awarding over £130,000 in funding to five new collaborative tuberculosis (TB) projects, led by mid-career researchers in Africa and the UK.
Dr Elizabeth V.M Kigondu form the Kenya Medical Research Institute and Dr Paul Race from the University of Bristol will collaborate on a research project investigating the therapeutic potential of new natural drug combinations for the treatment of drug-resistant strains of TB.
Tuberculosis (TB) remains one of the leading cause of morbidity and mortality world-wide, with around one-quarter of the world’s population currently estimated to be infected by TB bacteria. Treatment for TB typically takes six months and involves four antimicrobial drugs, however, their effectiveness is becoming compromised due to the emergence of multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) strains of TB. Treatment options for individuals infected with resistant strains are severely limited, and there is a pressing need to develop new anti-infective therapies that are effective against MDR/XDR strains.
Natural products are amongst the most effective sources of anti-TB drugs. For example, rifamycin, which is produced by the bacterium Amycolatopsis rifamycinica, is one of the most important drugs in use for the treatment of TB.
In their project, Dr Kigondu and Dr Race will investigate the therapeutic potential of drug combinations incorporating newly discovered natural product antibiotics with molecules that block common MDR/XDR drug resistance mechanisms. They will carry out screening programmes and take forward successful combinations for pre-clinical evaluation. These findings will provide the basis for larger proposals and future collaborations. They hope that this approach will unlock new avenues for the development of effective MDR/XDR therapies, translating into improved clinical outcomes for TB patients.
This project has been funded by the 2020 Dorothy Temple Cross International Collaboration Grant.
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