In a breakthrough discovery, Robert Abramovitch, a Michigan State University microbiologist, along with a graduate student have suggested that a common medication used to treat glaucoma could also be used to treat tuberculosis (TB).
Researchers discovered that ethoxzolamide, a sulfa-based compound found in many prescription glaucoma drugs, actually turns off the bacterium's ability to invade the immune system. Abramovitch said that ethoxzolamide stops TB from deploying its weapons shutting down its ability to grow inside certain white blood cells in the immune system and found that the compound reduces disease symptoms in mice.
Abramovitch added that the compound which they found inhibits TB's ability to detect acidic environments, effectively blindfolding the bacterium so it can't resist the immune system's assault. Abramovitch and his team monitored 2,73,000 different compounds in the hope of finding one that could possibly stop the disease. By using a synthetic biosensor that glows green in response to conditions that mimic TB infection, something Abramovitch developed earlier in his research, he eventually found the needle in the haystack that turned the bacterium's sensing ability off.
Abramovitch suggested that it could help shorten the length of treatment and slow the emergence of drug resistance, particularly if found to work in conjunction with other existing TB drugs. The study has been published in Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy