Researchers at the University of British Columbia and Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute have discovered how tuberculosis (TB) bacteria hide and multiply in the human body and are working toward a treatment to block this mechanism of infection. This discovery, published in the journal Cell Host and Microbe, describes the missing link between a TB protein and its newly discovered counterpart protein in the human body’s white blood cells (macrophages).
The research, lead by Dr. Yossi Av-Gay, research scientist with the Immunity and Infection Research Centre at the Vancouver Coastal Research Institute and associate professor with UBC’s Faculty of Medicine, suggests that therapies that block the activity of the TB protein in macrophages would allow the body to identify TB bacteria more easily. This would prevent the establishment of active and latent tuberculosis and will lead to a new and more effective treatment for TB.
“Once inside the human macrophage, TB acts as a Trojan Horse,” says Dr. Horacio Bach, the primary author of the paper and research scientist with the Immunity and Infection Research Centre at the Vancouver Coastal Research Institute. “TB multiplies inside the macrophage and when released attack the human body. By identifying this protein we are now able to expose the hiding bacteria, which will allow the macrophages to destroy them.”
Release date: May 14, 2008
Source: The University of British Columbia
Filed Under: Drug Discovery