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Novel antibiotic shows promise in shortening treatment duration of tuberculosis

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R207910 Study Findings

"Our findings suggest that at least in mice, R207910 seems to have the desired properties of simplifying and shortening the treatment duration, and perhaps, more," says Andries. In bacterial cell cultures, R207910 was effective against many different strains of mycobacteria, including strains that are resistant to other drugs. The drug is bactericidal, meaning that it kills the TB bacilli.

In mouse models, the studies showed that a cocktail regimen containing this compound reduced bacterial load after one month to the same level as the currently used regimen after two months of treatment, shortening normal treatment time by 50 percent. After two months treatment with the R207910 containing cocktail, no TB bacilli could be isolated from the lungs anymore, a finding that the French group that did those studies called "unprecedented".

The mouse studies also show that this new compound quickly enters the bloodstream and is actually concentrated in lung cells-which harbour the TB bacilli-killing the bacilli soon after they enter the body. Also, R207910 lingers in the body for days continuing to kill bacilli even when administered only once a week in mice.

R207910 is unique in the way it works. The compound attacks an enzyme called ATP synthase, the energy source for the bacterium. Given its new mechanism of action and apparent impact on drug resistant strains of TB, according to Andries, R207910 could lead to a shift in the current treatment paradigm for tuberculosis. "Preliminary data show R207910 has the desired properties we need and holds a great deal of promise," he said.

However, Koen added, considerable work needs to be done to fully determine this compound's clinical potential. Since the compound seems to be safe and well tolerated in Phase I studies with healthy human volunteers, R207910 will now be tested in humans
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9-Dec-2004


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