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Brighton & Sussex Medical School

Current research: combating Tuberculosis


Combating tuberculosis

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major focus of multidisciplinary investigation at The Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research. 

Introduction

Despite being declared a global emergency over 20 years’ ago, one and a half million people still die from TB each year.


TB is the leading cause of death worldwide by a contagious disease and more than 2 billion people are infected with the causative agent, Mycobacterium tuberculosis.The standard drug therapy for TB uses combinations of 4 drugs over 6 months. Antimicrobial drug resistance (AMR) is a growing problem, with TB accounting for one third of drug-resistant bacterial infections. The recommended treatment for multidrug-resistant TB lasts 18–24 months or more, and is wholly dependent on increasingly toxic combinations of drugs. New drug regimens are needed to maintain and improve TB treatment success, shortening the duration of therapy and targeting drug-resistant bacteria. 

The Wellcome Trust Brighton and Sussex Centre for Global Health Research works together with UK, European and International partners in collaborative research projects and multidisciplinary industry-university consortia to discover new strategies to reduce the burden of TB disease. We place knowledge exchange and multilateral research training between high/middle and low-income countries at the centre of our research agenda.

Dr Simon Waddell's (BSc, PhD, FHEA) main research areas include tuberculosis drug discovery, mycobacterial pathogenesis and TB biomarkers.

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Areas of research

Our approach combines molecular microbiology and human genetics to identify novel ways of preventing TB transmission and disease.

Our research uses genome-wide technologies to understand drug action in TB patients, to define TB bacteria that survive early drug therapy, and to identify the mode of action of novel anti-bacterial compounds. We also explore the interactions between host and pathogen during human disease to understand genetic factors that influence susceptibility to TB and to define biomarkers that will help to shorten TB drug therapy.

Future strategy

Our research priorities focus on applying novel technologies to study TB disease in patients and to translate our new understanding of TB pathogenicity to novel intervention strategies through our multidisciplinary research partnerships at Brighton and Sussex and across the world.

Awards

Tuberculosis research funding from:

  • Association of Physicians Links with Developing Countries Scheme
  • BBSRC-European Union EraSysBio
  • Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel, CAPES Brazil
  • European Union Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI) PreDiCT-TB
  • Medical Research Council
  • National Centre for the Replacement, Refinement and Reduction of Animals in Research (NC3Rs)
  • The Royal Society
  • University of Sussex Life Sciences studentship scheme
  • University of Brighton studentship scheme
  • Wellcome Trust
  • WTBSCGHR Research Development Fund