This sounds very promising: drug resistant TB killed completely in lab. However, even I, a science layman, knows that what happens in the lab doesn't necessarily translate to treatment in humans. Nevertheless, people with TB around the world, especially those who can't afford the current, expensive treatment, will be heading to the drug store to get some vitamin C! We'll be hearing more about "reducing agents" in the future I am sure.
In a striking, unexpected discovery, researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have determined that vitamin C kills drug-resistant tuberculosis (TB) bacteria in laboratory culture. The finding suggests that vitamin C added to existing TB drugs could shorten TB therapy, and it highlights a new area for drug design. The study was published today in the online journal Nature Communications. [snip]http://www.reuters.com/...
"To test this hypothesis, we repeated the experiment using isoniazid and a different reducing agent— vitamin C," said Dr. Jacobs. "The combination of isoniazid and vitamin C sterilized the M. tuberculosis culture. We were then amazed to discover that vitamin C by itself not only sterilized the drug-susceptible TB, but also sterilized MDR-TB and XDR-TB strains."
To justify testing vitamin C in a clinical trial, Dr. Jacobs needed to find the molecular mechanism by which vitamin C exerted its lethal effect. More research produced the answer: Vitamin C induced what is known as a Fenton reaction, causing iron to react with other molecules to create reactive oxygen species that kill the TB bacteria.
"We don't know whether vitamin C will work in humans, but we now have a rational basis for doing a clinical trial," said Dr. Jacobs. "It also helps that we know vitamin C is inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use. At the very least, this work shows us a new mechanism that we can exploit to attack TB."
MDR TB in the United States can cost as much as $250,000 (200,000 euros) per patient to treat.http://www.google.com/...
XDR TB requires about two years of treatment with even more expensive drugs that cause side-effects and offer no guarantee of a cure.
The authors of the new study urged further research into the potential uses of Vitamin C in TB treatment, stressing it was “inexpensive, widely available and very safe to use.”
“This would be a great study to consider because we have strains of tuberculosis that we don’t have drugs for, and I know in the laboratory that we can kill those strains with Vitamin C,” said Jacobs.