HCR.20.037 – Endgame: developing new therapies to eliminate tuberculosis

Route: Health care research, sickness prevention and treatment

Cluster question: 096 How can we improve diagnostics, treatment, and vaccines for immunodeficiencies and infectious diseases?

Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) is the causative agent of tuberculosis (TB) that is responsible for the death of 1.5 million people each year, while more than 1 billion people have latent Mtb infection and can progress to active disease. TB mainly affects poorer countries, but remains a constant threat also in the developed world. In the last decades we witnessed a steady rise in multidrug-resistant TB and even the emergence of totally drug-resistant strains. Therefore, finding novel and shorter therapies against TB becomes a major priority in the efforts to achieve the WHO target and eliminate TB by 2050. However, development of new therapies is not easy; Mtb is a persistent bacterium with a highly impermeable cell envelope that protects it from antibiotics. Nevertheless, recent progress showed that new therapies against TB are possible, as novel drugs have been identified and new treatment regimens have been approved. These breakthroughs became possible through collaborative efforts in TB research. In the Netherlands we have world-class laboratories working on TB that study either the pathogen or the host and use sophisticated chemical, molecular and imaging techniques and state-of-the-art in vitro and animal models. Each of these laboratories is a prominent player in international TB research and their consortium can make a global impact. In this proposal we bring together these academic laboratories and industrial partners with the goal to identify novel drug targets and new compounds that can help treating TB patients and prevent active TB disease in latently infected people. These compounds could either target the pathogen directly or enhance host mechanisms facilitating efficient elimination of the pathogen. Working together with health care professionals and governmental and charity organizations, our consortium will help to advance these novel therapies towards clinical trials and raise societal awareness of the ongoing efforts to fight TB.


antibiotics, granuloma, host-pathogen interaction, mycobacterium, therapy, Tuberculosis

Other organisations

AIGHD, Vrije Universiteit


Organisation Amsterdam UMC location Vumc
Name Prof. dr. W. (Wilbert) Bitter
E-mail w.bitter@amsterdamumc.nl
Website https://www.vumc.com/departments/medical-microbiology-and-infection-control.htm