On December 20 2018, the MSDAVENIR Endowment Fund and the Institute of Pharmacology and Structural Biology signed a major partnership for infectious disease research. With an amount of 800,000 euros over 3 years, this collaboration is intended to support a research project called Fight-TB that could pave the way for the development of individualized treatments against tuberculosis.
With more than 10 million new cases and nearly 1.8 million deaths each year, tuberculosis is the most lethal infectious disease due to a single pathogen. The relative efficacy of the vaccine (BCG) and the increasing emergence of Mycobacterium tuberculosis strains resistant to treatment (500,000 cases in 2017, worldwide) require the development of a new vaccines, diagnostic tests, and improved treatments. In this context the Fight-TB project aims to conduct innovative basic research on TB bacteria, anti-tuberculous immune response and host-pathogen interactions in TB in order to propose avenues for new treatments to complement existing therapies, and avoiding the appearance of antibiotic resistances.
In particular, this project aims to explore alternative strategies to antibiotic treatments: strategies to stimulate the immune defenses of the host (so-called "host-targeting" therapies), and strategies to reduce the virulence of the bacillus (so-called "anti-virulence" therapies).
The IPBS groups involved in this project (teams of Drs. M. Daffé, C. Guilhot, O. Neyrolles and J. Nigou) have already identified several promising targets of the host to reduce TB inflammation, and have identified targets of the bacterium involved in its virulence.
« For a long time considered a disease of the past, tuberculosis unfortunately remains a major public health problem. The Fight-TB project aims to develop cutting-edge basic research that will reveal innovative strategies for better management of the disease: therapies that will help the infected host to better combat the bacillus, and molecules that will reduce the virulence of the pathogen, which are less likely to generate resistance to treatment and are complementary antibiotics currently used. » Olivier Neyrolles, Coordinator of the Fight-TB project.