Tuberculosis expert Professor Stephen Gillespie will join forces with fellow experts around the world in a ground breaking global clinical trial.
Tuberculosis (TB) kills an estimated 1.5 million people each year. Currently people with multi-drug resistant TB require 18 – 24 months of treatment, with thousands of pills and daily injections for at least six months.
World TB Day is recognised every year on March 24. The event, designed to build public awareness, commemorates the date in 1882 when Dr Robert Koch announced his discovery of the bacillus that causes tuberculosis.
US-based TB Alliance and its partners have announced the launch of Shortening Treatments by Advancing Novel Drugs (STAND), a drug regimen which has the potential to make treatment dramatically shorter, simpler, safer, and more affordable than the current standard therapy.
The trial will test PaMZ, a three-drug regimen comprised of two drugs that are not yet licensed for use against TB. Some 1500 patients in 15 countries will take part in the study.
The University of St Andrews will play a leading role in the STAND which will involve around 50 study sites across Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe and Latin America with Professor Gillespie (pictured), the Sir James Black Professor of Medicine at St Andrews University, being the principal investigator.
“The PaMZ regimen would represent a major innovation in the fight against TB,” said Professor Gillespie.
“For MDR-TB patients it would eliminate the need for injectable drugs and shorter therapy from years to a matter of six months.
“PaMZ’s compatibility with commonly used antiretroviral drugs is really important as TB is the largest killer of people with AIDS.”
President and CEO of TB Alliance Mel Spigelman MD said, “Today’s TB treatment options are inadequate compared to the scale of the problem and the inadequacies can overwhelm patients, families and health systems.”
NOTES TO NEWS EDITORS
According to the World Health Organisation, of the 480,000 patients with MDR-TB in 2013, only 20 percent were treated. Of those treated, 48% percent were cured.
The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (TB Alliance) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to finding faster-acting and affordable drug regimens to fight tuberculosis. TB Alliance operates with support from Australia Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, European Commission, Global Health Innovative Technology Fund, Irish Aid, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, UNITAID, United Kingdom Department for International Development, United States Agency for International Development, and the United States Food and Drug Administration. For more information visit tballiance.org.
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office, contactable on 01334 467310