Medical scientists at the University of St Andrews are leading the medical monitoring of a new clinical trial to treat tuberculosis more quickly.
Tuberculosis causes about a million deaths every year. To change this and save lives, new tools, especially better treatments, are required.
According to the World Health Organization’s most recent Global Tuberculosis Report, there is growing resistance to available drugs, which means the disease is becoming more deadly and more difficult to treat: current drugs for resistant infections are less effective and more toxic.
The new study, SimpliciTB initiated by TB Alliance, will test a very promising new treatment combination in patients with both susceptible and multiple drug resistant infection. The aim is to treat tuberculosis with a much shorter course and one that can also be used for those with resistant disease, which will save vital resources for lower and middle-income countries.
Professor Stephen Gillespie, leader of the infection group at the University of St Andrews, will lead the medical monitoring of the trial supported by Dr Derek Sloan, an Infectious Diseases physician in the School of Medicine.
Professor Gillespie said: “Tuberculosis is still the most frequent cause of death from infectious disease. The SimpliciTB trial gives us the chance of providing a new shorter treatment that could alter the course of this terrible epidemic.”
The first patients have been enrolled at the National Centre for Tuberculosis and Lung Disease in Tbilisi, Georgia. SimpliciTB is expected to enrol 450 people with TB, including up to 150 with MDR-TB* across at least 26 centres in ten countries in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America.
Mel Spigelman, president and CEO of TB Alliance, said: “As resistance to current TB treatments continues to grow, we need to introduce all-oral drug regimens that can treat every person with TB in six months or less, regardless of their resistance profile.”
TB Alliance is a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of better, faster-acting and affordable tuberculosis drugs that are available to those who need them.
More information on the SimpliciTB trial is available on the TB Alliance website.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.