The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation is providing up to $3.9 million to TB Alliance to conduct preclinical testing of a compound that could eventually be used to treat infections caused by nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) in people with cystic fibrosis. NTM infections are difficult to treat, requiring antibiotics for a year or longer with no guarantee of success and with a risk of serious side effects.
The Foundation previously provided the TB Alliance up to $5.1 million in 2019 to identify and test potential treatments for NTM infections. With the help of this funding, TB Alliance identified a novel oxazolidinone inhibitor – a synthetic antibiotic that prevents the growth of bacteria by disrupting the production of bacterial proteins — that could be used to treat these infections.
Researchers hope this potential therapy will be safer and more effective than the oxazolidinone called linezolid, which is one of the antibiotics currently used to treat a type of NTM called Mycobacterium abscessus.
“The prevalence of NTM infections has increased globally in the last decade, and current treatments can cause hearing loss and problems with kidney function, so we need safer, more effective alternatives for people with CF,” said Tiffany Burnett, senior director of biopharma programs at the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and co-lead of the Infection Research Initiative. “The Foundation has been pursuing better therapies for difficult-to-treat bacteria, such as NTM, which pose a serious threat to people with CF.”
In addition to new treatments, the Foundation supports research to improve diagnosis and existing treatments for NTM through two studies — PREDICT and PATIENCE — which aim to create standard ways to diagnose and treat NTM infections.
Since the Infection Research Initiative launched five years ago, the Foundation has funded more than $128 million in research to improve outcomes associated with infections through enhanced detection, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment.