Tuberculosis (TB) is a respiratory disease that spreads by droplet infection and currently affects over 2 billion people worldwide. TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M.tb) and primarily affects the lungs but can spread to the spine, brain and kidneys. The bacteria has a latent infection period where it can reside in the lungs of healthy individuals for years without manifesting any symptoms of the disease. However, the symptoms surface during moments of decreased or compromised immunity such as an acute infection or progression of a chronic disease like HIV/AIDS. During latent infection, the bacterium primarily resides in aveolar macrophages making this cell line an important target for therapeutic interventions. Aveolar macrophages are important immune cells responsible for protecting the lungs against pathogen invasion. Cases of multidrug resistant TB are common due to factors such as mismanagement of treatment regimens and exposure of healthy individuals to drug resistant strains of M.tb. At SDSU, researchers have successfully designed a drug delivery system to effectively eradicate latent and active M. tb using a proprietary formulation of drug loaded particles.
For the first time in TB therapy, researchers at SDSU have successfully designed a delivery system that mimics both the shape and surface chemistry of M.tb with high drug payloads. The particles are capable of co-localizing with M.tb in macrophages making it more effective in targeting efficiency. The delivery system enables new therapeutic mechanisms for which M.tb cannot develop resistance and that all current resistant strains are susceptible to eradicate latent and active M.tb.
The particles are biodegradable and nontoxic with high drug payloads, which makes them suitable for pulmonary delivery. Moreover, they are capable of colocalization with M.tb in macrophages making them precise in targeting M.tb within macrophages. The formulation enables three new therapeutic mechanisms that are effective against all M.tb strains and circumvents the potential of resistance development.