Inflammatory Disease Drugs Could Hold TB Treatment Key
August 20, 2010
Research by American and Canadian scientists suggests how the mechanism behind the anti-inflammatory drugs used to treat diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis might be important in the treatment of TB.
The research in Nature Immunology describes how TB manipulates the process of cell death, or necrosis, allowing TB to escape and reproduce.
Anti-inflammatory drugs may be able to help contain TB bacteria within the host's cell walls. Once the cells induce their own death in the immune response called apoptosis, TB bacteria would be unable to escape outside the cells walls, and therefore unable to reproduce and re-infect the host.
The research describes the cellular pathway by which TB inhibits the progression of cell death in apoptosis and avoids activating the body's natural defenses.
"We've discovered a mechanism that could be very important for immune response," said author Maziar Divangahi, of McGill University in Montreal. "We do have drugs that target that pathway. We need to test them. That's the next step," Divangahi said.
Early treatment with anti-inflammatory drugs may be effective in coaxing the body's immune system to launch an attack against TB, Divangahi said. "It would be like arming yourself in advance of TB contact."
The report, "Eicosanoid Pathways Regulate Adaptive Immunity to Mycobacterium tuberculosis," was published in Nature Immunology (2010;11(8):751-758).
07.30.2010; Charlie Fidelman, Montreal Gazette; Postmedia News
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