Novel screening approach could identify novel TB treatments

Yossef Av-Gay, PhD
Professor, UBC Infectious Diseases

Tuberculosis (TB) caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), is the most devastating infectious disease worldwide, killing over 1.5 million people each year. Treatment regimens are lengthy and cause considerable adverse effects, leading to poor patient compliance. This, together with the widespread occurrence of drug resistant strains, necessitates discovery of novel, innovative drugs that will shorten the duration of TB treatments and/or be less toxic to the human host.

Professor Yossef Av-Gay and his team at the University of British Columbia Life Sciences Institute focus their research on the unique capability of Mtb, to infect, replicate and hide within macrophages, the front-line cells of our immune system. Their approach allows the discovery of novel drugs previously ignored by researchers screening for drugs that eradicate the bacterium outside the human host. Prof. Av-Gay’ team novel discoveries contribute to the development of novel drugs that are less likely to develop antimicrobial resistance within Mtb as they target host response and adaption to infection.

“Thanks to CIHR funding, we are able to identify novel drug candidates that target key disease processes and pathways, those behind Mtb ability to infect human macrophages and evade innate immune response in humans.”

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