Novel tuberculosis treatment begins Phase 3 trial

TB Alliance said on April 23 that it s initiating a global Phase 3 clinical trial of the first-ever drug regimen that will treat both drug-sensitive and multidrug resistant tuberculosis.

The clinical trial for the new drug, known as PaMZ, will be funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

"The results from early phase research suggest that this new drug regimen could provide the breakthrough we need to accelerate progress against this deadly and dangerous disease," Bill Gates, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation co-chair, said, according to Global Biodefense. "PaMZ could dramatically reduce the time required to cure drug-resistant TB from two years to just six months, and it could cut the cost of curing drug-resistant TB in low-income countries from thousands of dollars to just a fraction of that cost. Now we need funders to step forward to make next-generation TB drugs like PaMZ a reality."

Gates urged organizations to support the research and development of new treatments for TB, which kills approximately 1.3 million people each year, Global Biodefense reports.

Previous studies on PaMZ show the drug may reduce the length of therapy, especially for some forms of MDR-TB. This aspect of the treatment will be tested during the Phase 3 trial, called Shortening Treatments by Advancing Novel Drugs (STAND).

"TB patients, especially those with drug-resistant TB, urgently need cures that eliminate the need for injectable therapies, require taking fewer pills for a shorter period of time, are less toxic, simpler to administer and cost much less money," TB Alliance President and CEO Mel Spigelman said, according to Global Biodefense. "The STAND trial brings us closer to an era of high-impact drug regimens instead of where we are today, relying on the relics of the mid-20th century."