New targets could shorten TB treatment time

Researchers at SRI recently announced that they are evaluating new drug targets against tuberculosis in preclinical trials that, if successful, could lead to shortened treatment time.

One of the new drug targets, a protein called DNA gyrase B, is commonly found in the bacteria that cause TB infections. Antibiotics such as ciprofloxacin often target gyrase A, but there is currently no antibiotic that targets gyrase B, according to

Scientists at SRI have determined that by targeting gyrase B, they are able to kill TB bacteria when they are replicating or dormant. They are planning further studies toward the development of a new TB drug.

"One of the greatest needs in infectious disease treatment is a drug that allows a shorter length of treatment," Dr. Peter Madrid, the program director in the Center for Infectious Disease and Biodefense Research at the SRI Biosciences Division, said, reports. "Though our program is still in the preclinical phase of research, with a number of years of required testing ahead, our goal is to develop a drug that will improve the treatment process for TB patients."

Currently, patients with TB undergo treatment for six months and take a combination of at least four different medicines. Low patient compliance because of the long treatment time and increased rates of drug resistance mean potentially longer treatment times in the future, unless new options are made available.