Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria Infections Can Be Combated by Anti-Malaria Drugs

Non-Tuberculous Mycobacteria Infections Can Be Combated by Anti-Malaria Drugs ...

A research team at Colorado State University has discovered that malaria medications are effective in treating a pulmonary disease similar to tuberculosis.

Their findings were covered on the cover of theScience Translational Medicine issue on February 23.

The study is a significant step in the development of anti-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) antibodies, which are now more prevalent than tuberculosis in the United States, and often aimed at people who have a weakened immune system or preexisting conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or cystic fibrosis.

According to Professor Mary Jackson of the Centers for Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, antimalarial drugs that have already completed clinical trials might become part of the arsenal of drugs available to combat these infections, which may have a direct impact on the clinic.

The research, led by Jackson and lead author Juan Manuel Belardinelli, a research scientist at the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology, focused on an NTM calledMycobacterium abscessus. Few drugs are effective against this mycobacterium, and the ones that are usually toxic and cause bad side effects, according to Jackson.

Targeting diseases defense mechanism

Jackson and Belardinelli collaborated with other members of CSUsMycobacteria Research Laboratoriesto to identify one of these key defense mechanisms that this mycobacterium is capable of combating our immune system and antibiotics.

The scientists claim that the bacteria is capable of detecting and responding to threats in its environment, such as reduced oxygen levels, oxidative stress, and acidic pH, which are our bodies'' natural ways of dealing with illness. It does this by activating, among other things, a regulator known as DosRS, which controls many key functions in the bacterium, such as its respiration, its ability to form biofilms, and ability to enter a dormant state when the conditions are inadequate to bacterial multiplication

Both existing antimalarial medications were able to prevent DosRS from responding to stress, implying that the bacteria fought off antibiotics and the immune system''s natural disease response.

According to Jackson, the treatment reduced the bacteria''s ability to form biofilms, reducing it''s capability to resist antibiotic killings.

The elimination of bacteria loads in the lungs was just as effective as the combination of antibiotics that are currently used to treat the disease.

Partnering with National Jewish Health

The top authors are now working with doctors at National Jewish Health to administer the medication that was most effective OZ439 to people, particularly those with cystic fibrosis.

During clinical trials, a minimum of three to four antibiotics is required in tandem, and there are limited alternatives, according to Dr. Jerry Nick, a pulmonologist at National Jewish Health. This report is especially exciting because these compounds were both effective against the infection and also increased the effectiveness of other antibiotics. The repurposing strategy reduces the time required to assess these compounds in clinical trials, as well as there is a long-standing track record of safety and clinical experience.

Their findings were a pleasant surprise, although additional research will be needed to see how this compound works in human lungs.

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