New research on how tuberculosis (TB) bacteria develop multi-drug tolerance points to ways TB infections might be cured more quickly. The study was published online last week in Cell. The results identify both a mechanism and a potential therapy for drug tolerance that is induced in the TB bacteria by the host cells they infect. Currently, TB treatment requires a complex, long-term curative regimen of at least six months. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the University of Washington described the existence of multi-drug tolerant bacteria that form within days of infection in zebrafish, an animal model for studying TB. However, they were surprised to see this bacterial population actively growing and reproducing inside of host macrophages, white blood cells that engulf germs and debris in the body. In fact, the drug-tolerant bacteria not only thrive within these disease-fighting clean-up cells, but also co-opt them to carry the transiently drug resistant TB infection to other parts of the body. Paul Edelstein, MD, director of the Clinical Microbiology Laboratory in Penn's Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is a co-author on the paper and contributed studies of in vitro and in vivo antimycobacterial activity.
For more, please read the University of Washington release.
Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4.3 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 16 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $398 million awarded in the 2012 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania -- recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; Chester County Hospital; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2012, Penn Medicine provided $827 million to benefit our community.