IIT-B to develop effective TB treatment
The Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay (IIT-B), along with three other renowned national institutes, is running clinical trials of a breakthrough medicine that aims at treating multi-drug resistance (MDR) tuberculosis (TB) and killing the bacteria in the lungs more quickly, if taken along with regular medication.
The research holds promise as it would significantly shorten the current two-year treatment, and the easy mode of administration would persuade more patients to complete their course of medication. Currently, MDR-TB treatment involves 16 tablets a day and daily injections for the first six months. This research began last year and the first phase of the trials has been completed at the National Institute of Tuberculosis and Respiratory Diseases, New Delhi, which is also conducting the study with the National Jalma Institute of Leprosy and Other Mycobacterial Diseases in Agra, and the Delhibased Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The study is being funded by Tata Trusts (Rs 2 crore) and the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Rs 2.5 crore). In a recent study led by scientists at the New Delhi-based Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences (ILBS), researchers have identified a biomarker in human urine that may help develop a simple test to let clinicians predict response to treatment prior to starting therapy for patients of Severe Alcoholic Hepatitis (SAH). SAH progresses fast and results in death in 60 per cent of cases. Unlike Hepatitis B and C which are treatable with drugs, therapeutic options for SAH patients are limited. Corticosteroid therapy is available but not all patients respond to it. Those who do not respond to steroid therapy have high risk of infections and may die within three months. Based on their study, researchers concluded that one particular urinary metabolite - acetyl-Lcarnitine – can be used as a biomarker to predict non-response. This study is the first demonstration of the utility of urine to determine treatment responsiveness in
SAH. According to the researchers, the findings could form the basis for the development of a costeffective dipstick screening test for restricting steroid use to patients with a good likelihood of responding.