Tuberculosis (TB) is a highly contagious, airborne, infectious disease that kills around 1.5 million people annually. It is thought that around 1/3 of the entire population, around 2 billion people, is infected with tuberculosis. Despite current treatments, TB is still the leading infectious cause of death worldwide. At the moment, the tuberculosis epidemic is magnified by the emergence of multidrug resistant strains of TB, or strains that are resistant to more than one of the established drugs used to treat TB. This renders the immediate need for new drugs that are able to effectively treat tuberculosis.
As a part of the Gemstone interdisciplinary research program in the University of Maryland Honors College, Team MTB is conducting research on protein interactions within Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb), which is the leading cause of human tuberculosis. Our research centers around the fact that certain protein interactions are necessary components to the virulence, or the capability to cause infection, of Mtb . We plan to screen a drug panel from the NIH composed of preexisiting, FDA approved drugs with the goal of identifying drugs that are able to disrupt one of the vital protein interactions in Mtb. This would prevent the Mtb from causing a tuberculosis infection.
A huge component of our project is the identification of an effective preexisiting drug as a treatment. This will allow a much quicker and easier alternative option because it avoids the extremely long approval process that comes with creating new drugs. We hope to identify a drug that could quickly turn around and be used to treat TB immediately. With our research we hope to alleviate the difficult treatment process of TB.
We Need You!
The drug panel that is integral to our project is our biggest cost and, in addition to the many lab supplies we will need to complete the research, the costs add up. We are excited to begin our research in the lab and have already begun establishing a screening system. Our next step is to begin looking into the different protein interactions and then we hope to start our screen of the drug panel. We cannot wait to see what discoveries we will make in our research, but in order to do so, we need your help! We would appreciate any donation you would like to give to help support the monetary costs of our research, from ordering basic lab supplies, to purchasing our drug panel and running our tests.
Thank you so much for supporting our project! Together, we can work to find new, effective treatments for tuberculosis and tackle this grave issue. Visit our website for more information: ter.ps/teammtb
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