Arthritis Drug May Cure Drug-Resistant TB
Los Angeles Times UNITED STATES (09.11.12):: Melissa Healy

An old anti-inflammatory drug called oxyphenbutazone, surprised researchers at Weil Cornell Medical College, New York, when it attacked both replicating and non-replicating tuberculosis, including drug-resistant strains, in a test of 5,600 existing medications. The study was reported recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The researchers were screening existing drugs to determine their potential effectiveness against TB. Oxyphenbutazone was sold in the 1950s as Tandearil, and is still used in veterinary medicine. It is inexpensive - about two cents a day for a daily dose - hence it would be ideal for developing countries where drug resistance is a problem. The drug has a lengthy and safe history in use by humans, but it cannot be immediately used to treat TB. The usual procedure for approving a drug requires tests on animals; however, this drug is metabolized much faster in animals than in humans, which would make it inactive more quickly than in a human population. Dr. Carl Nathan, lead author of the study, stated that the Food and Drug Administration should consider waiving the normal requirements of animal testing, since the long track record of the drug in relatively safe use in many people over decades should be enough evidence to allow proceeding to human trials. Even if the waiver were granted, there is the problem of who would pay for the expensive human trials. The makers' patent has long since expired, which means they would not make a profit from its widespread sale and could not recoup the cost of the tests.
[PNU editor's Note: The study, "Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug Sensitizes Mycobacterium tuberculosis to Endogenous and Exogenous Antimicrobials," was published ahead of the print version in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (September 10, 2012, doi:10.1073/pnas.1214188109)].

26 October 2012
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