Developing Cures for Tuberculosis

Through a close collaboration with Tufts Medical School, LSP scientists are using computational approaches, animal models, and deep profiling of TB granulomas to understand how mechanisms of combination therapy and improve treatment approaches.

Tuberculosis remains a scourge in many parts of the developing world and is also common in disadvantaged and immigrant communities in the US. Treating the disease remains challenging, with too few drugs available, patient-to-patient variability in response, and emergence of drug resistance. LSP scientists are studying TB granulomas  - sites of inflammation - that represent sites of active or residual disease in which the host immune system is attempting to eradicate infection. Granulomas evolve over time in an irregular fashion even within a single patient and can become the source of resurgent disease. Developing better treatments for TB faces many of the same hurdles as developing drugs for cancer and many TB granulomas are discovered in the process of screening for lung cancer. LSP investigators are using a wide range of tools to study granulomas in humans and animal models. In collaboration with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation the LSP is also developing an online digital resource for the TB community that focuses initially on fusing data from advanced tissue imaging, single-cell sequencing, and radiological scans.

Cokol M, Kuru N, Bicak E, Larkins-Ford J, Aldridge BB. Efficient measurement and factorization of high-order drug interactions in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Sci Adv. 2017 Oct;3(10):e1701881. PMCID: PMC5636204.

Smith TC, Aldridge BB. Targeting drugs for tuberculosis. Science. 2019 Jun 28;364(6447):1234–1235. PMID: 31249047

Larkins-Ford J, Degefu YN, Van N, Sokolov A, Aldridge BB. Design principles to assemble drug combinations for effective tuberculosis therapy using interpretable pairwise drug response measurements. Cell Rep Med. 2022 Sep 20;3(9):100737. PMCID: PMC9512659

Larkins-Ford J, Greenstein T, Van N, Degefu YN, Olson MC, Sokolov A, Aldridge BB. Systematic measurement of combination-drug landscapes to predict in vivo treatment outcomes for tuberculosis. Cell Syst. 2021 Nov 17;12(11):1046-1063.e7. PMCID: PMC8617591

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