Scientists at Colorado State University have helped test the first new tuberculosis drug approved by the Federal Drug Administration in 40 years. I spoke with University Distinguished Professor in the Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Pathology at CSU, Dr. Ian Orme about the significance of the new drug and CSU's role in the development of the drug.

Johnson & Johnson recently announced that the drug bedaquiline had obtained initial approval for the treatment of multi-drug resistant tuberculosis.

Bedaquiline was discovered by the Johnson and Johnson Company in Belgium in 2005. In 2007, a research team led by Anne Lenaerts and Ian Orme at CSU published a paper with collaborators at J&J revealing that the drug showed fast-acting, highly effective treatment of tuberculosis. Colorado State is known internationally for its tuberculosis research programs, which includes work on developing and testing drugs and vaccines against the disease.

In 2012, Lenaerts, an associate professor of Mycobacterial Therapeutics in the Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology department, received a $1.2 million grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to develop a laboratory model that better mimics how human lungs respond to infection with the bacterium that causes tuberculosis. Lenaerts is developing a model that will target persisting strains of tuberculosis bacteria, which are the most difficult to treat. For more information, go to http://www.colostate.edu/tuberculosisresearch/.

The grant was one of five Gates Foundation grants totaling $3.65 million awarded last year to Colorado State tuberculosis researchers.

[Colorado State University Department of Public Relations]