Experimental drug shows great promise for resistant tuberculosis

June 3, 2009

(ChattahBox) — An experimental drug TMC207, starves the bacteria responsible for tuberculosis making conventional therapy significantly faster and more effective against drug-resistant TB, doctors reported on Wednesday.  The results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The compound is aimed at treating TB that’s resistant to multiple drugs to combat the bacterial infection that usually attacks the lungs. TMC207 by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), uses a new mechanism of action which inhibits mycobacterial ATP synthase, disrupting energy homeostasis.
A total of 47 hospitalized patients with smear-positive pulmonary TB were randomized, and 44 completed the exploratory phase of the trial, with most adverse events in the study were mild to moderate.  The data show that the addition of TMC207 for eight weeks to a 5-drug background regimen, in patients with multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB), resulted in a significant increase in the proportion of patients achieving a negative sputum culture and a shorter time to sputum culture conversion compared with the background regimen alon

A second stage of the J&J-funded study will evaluate efficacy at 24 weeks of treatment, with results expected in 2010. According to the World Health Organization (Who), there are nearly 9 million new TB cases and perhaps 1.5 million deaths from the disease annually.

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