Indirect approaches complement direct approaches – an example

Scientists over-emphasize direct approaches; without indirect approaches, direct approaches have limited utility.
Here is an example of adding an indirect approach to strengthen a direct approach. Deficiencies weaken both our defenses against Mtb and our ability to repair the damage the pathogen does. Shoring up our deficiencies makes more sense than simply trying to kill the pathogen. That is running uphill, opposing the organism’s powerful innate survival programs. Increasing our own survival skills is running downhill. Let’s run downhill at least as often as we run uphill.
Here is the article:
Angela Colmone

The increasing prevalence of drug-resistant strains of Mycobacterium tuberculosis—the bacterium that causes tuberculosis (TB)—has led to a paradigm shift in the search for new drugs. Rather than targeting the bacterium itself, researchers are trying to augment host defenses. Now, Singh et al. report that the FDA-approved drug metformin, currently used to treat type 2 diabetes, can improve the immune response to M. tuberculosis infection. Metformin inhibited the growth of M. tuberculosis by enhancing specific immune responses in vitro and in infected mice. Furthermore, in human diabetic patients with TB, metformin treatment decreased TB severity.

Sci. Transl. Med. 6, 263ra159 (2014).


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