IIT-B to de­velop ef­fec­tive TB treat­ment

BioSpectrum (India) - - SCIENCE NEWS -

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.

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