Local scientists should track lung cells targeting in treating TB

15Jan 2020
The Guardian
Local scientists should track lung cells targeting in treating TB

RESEARCH on the tedious treatment of tuberculosis, which routinely requires over 60 dozes of medicine without fail may soon get a break if reported new openings from Irish scientists prove to be effective.

They have discovered a way to improve treatment for tuberculosis by taking a shot at what causes, fortifies resistance of the TB bacterium by isolating its genetic defences and directing vaccines to that point.

TB is a disease due to an infection from a bacterium, mycobacterium tuberculosis. Scientists say it is one of the oldest known diseases and still it remains the world's deadliest infectious disease. Most of us know how terrible that disease is, as we see affected people more or less routinely, but happily we also see some getting effectively cured.

UN agencies affirm that while TB is rampant in Africa, the growing problem of antibiotic resistance is posing a significant threat worldwide. The diseased infects lung macrophage cells and then manipulates them to its benefit, creating a safe home for it to hide out unperturbed, sometimes for years. That means it takes up the biochemical environment it has invaded to suit its needs, evidently by adapting to that environment, creating enzymes that tally with it.

The good news is that scientists from Trinity University in the Irish Republic have discovered both how TB puts the brakes on our immune systems and how we can kick-start them back into gear. It means reversing the adaptation mechanism of the bacterium, and thus medicine work as it is supposed to be. This development has generated new hope that improved treatment options could soon be on the horizon, setting out to manufacturers for affordable drugs.

The scientists essentially examined how lung immunity assuring cells, how they behave during infection, with the reports saying that the work illustrates how simple sugar or glucose enhances macrophages’ anti-bacterial activities. Persistent infection of these macrophages with TB hampers our glucose-filled engines, which in effect shuts down the body's natural response to infection, allowing the bacteria to hide undisturbed. Tailing the path of infection is what led the team of scientists to focus on the crucial processes of bacterial adaptivity.

A leading scientist said that the team found that when TB-infected cells are treated with a key ‘interferon gamma protein signal' normally produced following vaccination, it works. The effect is that it removes the malignany microRNA to effectively relieve the brake and restore our normal immune response, the scientist underlined. Ribonucleic acid (RNA) is a multiple use molecule essential in various biological roles in coding, decoding, regulation and expression of genes. RNA and DNA are nucleic acids which beef up the work of basic nutritious material in our bodies, and thus are essential building blocks of living things.

As it is evidently the case, the research could have major implications for the future treatment of TB. The Irish team says that what is particularly promising from a societal impact perspective is that as well as increasing our knowledge of how TB corrupts our normal immune response to infection, identification of the microRNA-21 shall enable scientists to develop improved immunotherapies or vaccine strategies to help in the fight against TB infection.

It is thus a point where local research comes up, as the rest is applied research and even use of existing medicine to target that particular zone of the infection mechanism. (..)

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