Published on June 29, 2012 at 5:55 AM
During the initial six weeks of treatment, when TB bacteria were actively replicating, there was no significant difference in bacterial killing observed between the two groups of mice, Jain noted. But at weeks eight and 10, the group receiving standard TB treatment plus etanercept had a significantly lower bacterial burden than the group receiving just the standard TB treatment.
"This finding is important because it is during this later phase of infection and treatment, that TB bacteria multiply much more slowly, making up the so-called 'persisters' that lie 'asleep' and require protracted treatment," says Ciaran Skerry, Ph.D., the journal report's first author.
At 12 weeks, both groups had no bacteria visible on culture, but 27.8 percent of the group receiving standard TB treatment relapsed, while only 10.5 percent of the ones treated with the standard treatment plus etanercept relapsed.
Jain says due to risks of reactivation disease with the use of TNF-α inhibitors, more studies for safety and efficacy need to be done in the laboratory before the treatment can be used in people.
Source: Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions