Sophisticated lung imaging techniques like the PET scan can
better predict which drugs are likely to be effective for treating tuberculosis
(TB) lung infection in human and macaque studies, according to researchers at
the University of Pittsburgh's School of Medicine and their international
collaborators. Researchers are hoping the scans could be useful in confirming
drug resistance that can help get new treatments to patients faster.
First-line treatment of TB demands taking four different drugs for six to eight months to get a durable cure. Patients who do not get cured of the infection can develop multi-drug resistant TB, and have to take as many as six drugs for two years. Some of those people who do not get cured, either develop drug-resistant or XDR TB which has a very poor prognosis.
Researchers faced a challenge to find more effective treatments that work in a shorter time period, but the standard preclinical models for testing new drugs has occasionally led to contradictory results when evaluated in human trials. The current study indicates the macaque animal model can correctly predict which experimental agents have the best chance for success in human trials and that could help get new treatments to patients faster.
The findings are published online Science Translational Medicine.