Antiangiogenesis drugs may advance tuberculosis treatment

Antiangiogenesis drugs advance tuberculosis treatment
Antiangiogenesis drugs advance tuberculosis treatment | Courtesy of

Researchers have determined that antiangiogenesis drugs can improve treatments for tuberculosis as well as certain cancers.

Health professionals found that blood vessels carrying pulmonary granulomas (immune cells that isolate regions infected with TB bacteria) are similar to the structure and function of solid tumors. They then made the connection that the antiangiogenesis drug bevacizumab (Avastin) has proven instrumental in transporting small-molecule drug surrogates contained in granulomas.

This finding could eliminate the antibiotic resistance of TB. Current TB treatments require doses of numerous antibiotic drugs for 6 to 8 months. Various strains of TB have developed varying levels of resistance to antibiotics. 

Scientists at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease published the findings on Monday in PNAS Early Edition.

Experts estimate that approximately one-third of the world’s population could have TB bacteria. Approximately 2 million people around the world die from TB each year.

Most people who carry the infection never fully develop the disease until their immune systems are significantly compromised with chemotherapy, HIV, or another similar illness.

"Unlike many TB researchers, we are not seeking to discover new ways of combating bacterial resistance, instead we are striving to overcome physiological resistance to treatment caused by these vascular abnormalities," Director of the Steele Laboratory of Tumor Biology in the MGH Radiation Oncology Department Rakesh K. Jain said. "And since we are using an FDA-approved drug, our work has the potential to be rapidly translated into clinical use." Jain was the co-senior author of the PNAS Early Edition report.