Stem cell treatment for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis

Published 2009-06-26 00:00. Updated 2013-11-26 10:29

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis is an increasing public health concern globally. It constitutes severe problems for the effective TB control and has a high rate of mortality. The available treatment is not very effective, it is expensive and may take up to two years; some patients cannot be effectively treated at all.

One promising new way to supplement the current anti-TB drug treatment is to alleviate immune-suppression and to facilitate tissue regeneration via transplantation of the patients' own mesenchymal stem cells, which are cultured and expanded outside the body and then re-infused in the patient.

Clinician and Scientific Director Dr. Alena Skrahina and Dr. Alexander Skrahin at the Research Institute of Pulmonology and Tuberculosis in Belarus start a phase I clinical trial in Minsk next week in collaboration with Professor Markus Maeurer, Clinical Immunology, of the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet and Associate Professor Sven Hoffner, Mycobacteriology at the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control.

"Our aim is to enhance the care of patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis and to better understand the mechanisms for how stem cells help to improve and regenerate immune responses in patients with multi-drug resistant tuberculosis", says Dr. Alena Skrahina from the Research Institute of Pulmonology and Tuberculosis, Minsk.

Multi-drug resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) is a particular severe form of tuberculosis characterised by the resistance of towards at least the two most effective anti-TB drugs, isoniazid and rifampicin.

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