Saturday June 23, 2018

Several compounds show successful results against MDR-TB

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Hyderabad: If the results obtained at the laboratory remain true in the clinical trials too, then it can be said that we have found the cure to overcome the problem of multi-drug resistant TB (MDR-TB) in the coming years.

Scientists at the National Mol Bank at the Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, Hyderabad have screened thousands of natural and synthetic compounds. They have identified compounds active at the laboratory level for asthma, cancers, TB and central nervous system disorders. The compound is said to be highly automated with storage and retrieval facility of 1.6 million samples. It has 30,000 pure compounds as of now.

The scientists have screened around 10,000 compounds for TB and identified 281 hits, as part of intensifying drug discovery efforts. Out of them, 11 compounds which are unrelated to the existing anti-TB drugs showed promising results. The experiments were done at the cellular level on the MDR-TB bacteria. Dr P Srihari, Principal Scientist of IICT said, “We will make several analogues to these compounds and look at the pathway they are following for achieving inhibitory activity.”

Dr Prarthama Mainkar, Scientist at IICT, said: “We know it’s inhibiting Mycobacterium tuberculosis. We want to find out the pathway. Then we can deliver the drug.” After filtering down and coming to the right compound, it would undergo human trials which would take around two to three years to complete, she added. In the tests conducted on mice’s cancer cell lines, three compounds to treat leukaemia acted effectively. Scientists further plan to undertake the same studies in dogs and conduct pre-clinical trials.

In regard to renal cancer, promising results were noticed. Dr Prathhama said, “We plan to go for clinical trials in collaboration with another institution in the next two years.”

In experiments conducted in zebra fish and mice models in the laboratory, another set of compounds proved useful in strengthening neurons. Moreover, the compounds underwent the crucial blood-brain barrier successfully. Further studies are also being carried out in collaboration with the University of Texas and ETH, Zurich. These compounds could eventually help in developing drugs for the treatment of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.

Two other compounds were patented by IICT and Indian Institute of Chemical Biology, which proved to be effective against asthma. The two institutions conducted the collaborative studies. (picture courtesy: http://newsatjama.jama.com/)

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Can Vinegar be Used to Treat Tuberculosis?

There is a real need for less toxic and less expensive disinfectants that can eliminate TB and non-TB mycobacteria, especially in resource-poor countries

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Can Vinegar be Used to Treat Tuberculosis?
Can Vinegar be Used to Treat Tuberculosis? Pixabay

An international team of researchers has found that an active ingredient in vinegar can effectively kill mycobacteria, even the highly drug-resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis.

Acetic acid in vinegar might be used as an inexpensive and non-toxic disinfectant against drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria as well as other stubborn, disinfectant-resistant mycobacteria, they found.

“For now, this is simply an interesting observation. Vinegar has been used for thousands of years as a common disinfectant and we merely extended studies from the early 20th century on acetic acid,” explained Howard Takiff, head of the laboratory of molecular genetics at the Venezuelan Institute of Scientific Investigation (IVIC) in Caracas, Venezuela.

Mycobacteria are known to cause tuberculosis and leprosy, but non-TB mycobacteria are common in the environment, even in tap water, and are resistant to commonly used disinfectants.

vinegar
Representational image. Pixabay

While investigating the ability of non-TB mycobacteria to resist disinfectants and antibiotics, Takiff’s postdoctoral fellow Claudia Cortesia stumbled upon vinegar’s ability to kill mycobacteria.

Testing a drug that needed to be dissolved in acetic acid, Cortesia found that the control with acetic acid alone, killed the mycobacteria she wanted to study.

“After Claudia’s initial observation, we tested for the minimal concentrations and exposure times that would kill different mycobacteria,” noted Takiff.

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“There is a real need for less toxic and less expensive disinfectants that can eliminate TB and non-TB mycobacteria, especially in resource-poor countries,” Takiff observed.

Whether it could be useful in the clinic or labs for sterilising medical equipment or disinfecting cultures or clinical specimens remains to be determined, said the study published in mBio, the online journal of the American Society for Microbiology. (IANS)