ASM logoTuberculosis is a dreaded disease and anyone suffering from it suffers no less than a nightmare. However, scientists appear to have developed a new way of treating the disease. Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, North Carolina; and Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, Cambridge, Massachusetts, have proposed of treating TB with the help of dry powder aerosols.

The scientists say that the dry powder aerosols can be delivered through an inhaler, and may prove helpful in curing TB. The epidemic rates of the HIV/TB co-infection, alongside the rising multidrug-resistant (MDR) and extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB strains are adding to TB-related global deaths. PA-284, a compound has shown potential of being crushed into dry powder and has equally been effective in treating patients with not only MDR and XDR but also co-infected HIV/TB patients.

Earlier findings indicate that the consumption of PA-284 in the tablet form caused side effects like headaches and abdominal issues. With aerosol delivery of PS-284 directly to the area of infection, could potentially limit the systemic exposure and subsequently get rid of the side effects.

For this study, the team used guinea pigs to understand the effects of PA-284 aerosols on TB infection. For a month, guinea pigs affected with TB were given high aerosol treatments, whereas the others received a low treatment for four weeks. When the lung and spleen analysis was conducted, the guinea pigs that had received a high treatment showed less inflammation, bacterial burden and tissue damage.

The scientists are of the opinion that the present research indicates a potential use of PA-284 dry powder aerosols in the treatment of TB.

The findings were reported in the April 2010 issue of the journal of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.