Research ArticleTuberculosis

Metformin as adjunct antituberculosis therapy

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Science Translational Medicine  19 Nov 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 263, pp. 263ra159
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3009885

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Diabetes Drug Treats TB

The increasing prevalence of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has led to a paradigm shift in the search for new drugs. Rather than targeting the bacterium, researchers are trying to augment the host response. Now, Singhal et al. report that the FDA-approved drug metformin, which is currently used to treat type 2 diabetes, can improve the immune response to Mtb infection. They show in vitro and in vivo in Mtb-infected mice that metformin can control the growth of Mtb by enhancing the specific immune response. Indeed, in human diabetic patients infected with Mtb, metformin treatment was associated with improved control and decreased disease severity. These data suggest that metformin could be used as adjuvant therapy to treat Mtb infection.

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