A Huge Victory Against XDR TB (Abstract Science Aug. 12-16)
Also: Immune-activating gene therapy for gliobastoma shows promise, and a big step forward in the Ebola fight
(The Washington Post, Claire Parker, 8/13/19)
Two experimental Ebola treatments significantly increase survival rates for those infected with a disease often considered a death sentence, scientists announced Monday, providing fresh hope for containing an outbreak that has ravaged eastern Congo. The drugs, tested in a nearly nine-month clinical trial, have performed so well that health professionals will now administer them to every patient in Congo.
(The Scientist, Ruth Williams, 8/14/19)
An inducible, tumor-localized gene therapy has been tested for the first time in glioblastoma patients. The two-part approach, which involves receiving an injection of an immune-activator gene into the brain tumor site and swallowing a pill that switches on the gene, resulted in the production of the activator—interleukin 12 (IL-12)—and an infiltration of immune cells into tumor tissue, according to a report in Science Translational Medicine today (August 14). The results also hint that patients’ survival may be prolonged by the treatment.
(Nature News, Amy Maxmen, 8/14/19)
The US Food and Drug Administration has approved a drug regimen to treat an extreme form of multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB). Nearly 90% of people infected with extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB who took this treatment during a clinical trial recovered in 6 months. The average success rate for drug regimens currently used to treat XDR TB is around 34%. One drug in the combination — called pretomanid — is only the third new TB therapy to be approved globally in nearly 50 years.
—Stories compiled by Senior Scientific Writer Regina Kelder