Liz Devitt | Aug. 4, 2013 | Nature Medicine blog
Tuberculosis is an old disease that demands new drugs. More than one million people die each year from Mycobacterium tuberculosis infections and a growing percentage of new infections—at least 9%—are caused by strains of the bacterium that can’t be killed with many of the drugs now available.
A new experimental compound could help. In a paper published online today in Nature Medicine, researchers describe a small molecule called Q203 that thwarts drug resistant tuberculosis infections in mice by targeting the mycobacterial cytochrome bc1 complex—a mechanism distinct from that of existing agents.
These drugs "are getting a lot of attention because they are really inexpensive to make, seem to be safe, and work against drug-resistant tuberculosis,” says Marvin Miller, an organic chemist at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana, who, together with colleagues at Indiana’s Eli Lilly, reported earlier this year on yet another set of IPAs with promising anti-tuberculosis and pharmacokinetic properties. “They could be very practical.”