TB drug delivery: aerosol vs. oral

There's a debate going on in the world of tuberculosis (TB) drug delivery over whether aerosol would work better than the current mode of delivery, which is mostly oral. A blog produced by the Working Group on New TB Drugs recently described the results of a recent study that compared oral delivery with dry powder aerosol delivery of PA-826, an anti-bacterial agent with potential as TB therapy.

Well, they don't call them guinea pigs for nothing, so the creatures involuntarily helping researchers at the University of North Carolina and Harvard University were given low and high doses of dry-powder aerosol, and others given the oral version.

The lungs and spleens of animals receiving the high dose of inhaled PA-824 particles exhibited a lower degree of inflammation, bacterial burden, and tissue damage than those of untreated or placebo animals. But the animals that were treated with oral PA-824 showed a more significant reduction in the bacterial burden of lungs and spleen, consistent with a dose that was larger than inhaled doses. However, the extent of tissue damage was comparable in groups receiving the oral or either inhaled dose.

The bottom line? The results were interesting enough to warrant further study.

- read the blog post from the Working Group
- here's the abstract in the journal of the American Society for Microbiology
- and read about PA-824