FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, June 26, 2014
WHAT:In a new study published in Nature, scientists describe a new type of tuberculosis (TB) treatment that involves manipulating the body’s response to TB bacteria rather than targeting the bacteria themselves, a concept called host-directed therapy. TB remains a major cause of disability and death worldwide as an estimated 8.6 million people fell ill with TB and 1.3 million people died from the disease in 2012, according to the World Health Organization. Although TB is curable, adherence to therapy is difficult as treatment requires taking antibiotic drugs for at least six months and sometimes up to two years. Poor adherence to medication and other factors have resulted in drug-resistant strains, and currently no effective TB vaccine exists.
To address the need for alternative interventions, scientists from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health, demonstrated proof-of-concept for a host-directed strategy to treat tuberculosis. They found that interleukin-1, a type of protein that regulates the body’s immune response to infection, can help protect the body from TB infection. Their studies in cells and in mice and human patients infected with TB bacteria demonstrated that interleukin-1 induces a mediator, prostaglandin E2 (PGE2), that limits the production of type-I interferons, which are associated with increased TB disease severity.
NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of
infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID website.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S.
Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research,
and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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Last Updated June 26, 2014
Last Reviewed June 26, 2014