UNM Researchers Study Key Element for Better Drug Treatment for TB

Tuberculosis isn't yet making a major comeback in the U.S. but one- third of the world's population is infected with the disease, and it poses a major danger to health worldwide.  Though public health initiatives have improved, the drugs used to treat tuberculosis have remained much the same since interest in drug research for the disease faded in the 1960's. 

That is why researchers at the University of New Mexico College of Pharmacy and School of Medicine are looking at how to make more effective drug treatments for people with tuberculosis.

"First we wanted to know why isoniazid [a major drug in fighting TB] works," said Graham Timmins, PhD, assistant professor of pharmacy. Isoniazid was discovered in the 1950's. "We know it is effective but no one has really been sure as to why."

Timmins and researchers Sharon Master and Vojo Deretic at the UNM School of Medicine uncovered how INH really works to kill tuberculosis. 

What we found was that the nitric oxide in isoniazid works like a Trojan horse to fight off TB, Timmins said. An enzyme only found inside the TB bacteria makes nitric oxide from the isoniazid that is taken inside the cell. We already knew that nitric oxide was very toxic to TB, but by linking these pieces of information together, we now know much more about how isoniazid works. 

"Now that we understand the mechanism we can make other forms of these drugs that will work better than isoniazid," he said.

Two-million people die each year from tuberculosis worldwide, and it is a leading cause of death for people living with HIV/AIDS. In the US, the poor, homeless, HIV-infected, and immigrant populations are where the disease is usually manifested.   


Contact: Angela Heisel, 272-3322

Related Stories

NAMI New Mexico Annual 5k Walk

NAMI New Mexico Annual 5k Walk

The Sandoval Regional Medical Center (SRMC) is gearing up to sup­port the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) through its annual 5k walk on Saturday, May 11 at Balloon Fiesta Field. In years past, SRMC staff, their friends and family have come together to raise money and awareness to help aid in the fight to overcome the obstacles of mental illness.
Center for Healthcare Equity in Kidney Disease Kickoff Event

Center for Healthcare Equity in Kidney Disease Kickoff Event

On Thursday, April 25 CHEK-D will hold a recognition and kickoff event, with a talk and presentation by Dr. Richard Larson, Vice Chancellor for Research, and Dr. Larissa Myaskovsky, CHEK-D Director, from 9 – 10 a.m. in Domenici North Wing room 2710.
UNM Distinguished Diversity Scholar Luncheon and Talk

UNM Distinguished Diversity Scholar Luncheon and Talk

UNM HSC is honored to continue our partnership with Professor Alford. We would like to invite everyone to join us as she presents the UNM Distinguished Diversity Scholar luncheon talk: Enhancing Wellness By Honoring Our Humanity on Friday, April 26.