Bone marrow stem cells offer new hope for treatment of drug-resistant TB

People with drug-resistant tuberculosis could in future be treated using stem cells from their own bone marrow, according to early results of research by British and Swedish scientists.

In a study in The Lancet Respiratory Medicine Journal, researchers said more than half of 30 patients with drug-resistant TB were cured of the disease after six months. There are an estimated 450,000 people worldwide who have multi drug-resistant (MDR) or extensively drug-resistant (XDR) TB, around half of whom fail to respond to existing treatments.

“The results…show that the current challenges and difficulties of treating MDR-TB are not insurmountable, and they bring a unique opportunity with a fresh solution to treat hundreds of thousands of people who die unnecessarily,” said TB expert Alimuddin Zumla at University College London, one of the authors of the study.

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