Nano particles for effective TB treatment

Side-effects and multiple doses of medicines for tuberculosis (TB) patients could soon be eliminated as Pune-based scientists are currently working on making the existing TB drug available in nano form, which can increase the effectiveness of one dose by 10 times. The Rifampicin and Isoniazid complexes formed with nano particles for inhibition of growth and multi-drug resistant mycobacterium tuberculosis are aimed at lowering the minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) as well the method of administration. The project is a multi-institutional initiative involving the Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) and King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEM), along with the Department of Biotechnology (DBT).

"We observed that over the years, tuberculosis bacteria have developed multi-drug resistant (MDR) strains that do not respond to the medicine, as a result of which its intensity and dosage needs to be increased. While TB remains uncured, the patient suffers massive side-effects. The motive behind the project is to reduce the dose and increase the effectiveness," said Tejeshree Bhave, principle investigator, DIAT.

The traditional medicines—Rifampicin and Isoniazid—administered in the DOTS method are consumed orally. "We are changing the method of administration by providing nano particle carriers, which can be injected or inhaled—which means that they get dissolved in blood directly, thus increasing their effectiveness," she said.

The process involves coating the traditional medicine on metal oxide nano particles by forming colloidal suspension. The result is a 30 nano-metre-thick coating on each nano particle, of 40 nano metre diameter. "We have patented this coating method. Making the drug available in nano form increases the surface to volume ratio, which means more of the medicine is available for fighting the disease," Bhave added.

With Rs 75 lakh as grant from DBT and experimental assistance from KEM hospital, the medicine in its new form has undergone in vitro tests, which involve testing for effectiveness in an atmosphere that involves specially cultured bacteria. "The tests revealed that MIC got reduced drastically. Animal trials are yet to be undertaken," she said.

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