Research

The Global Tuberculosis Institute (GTBI) was established to advance state-of-the-art care for tuberculosis through excellence in research, practice and teaching. GTBI has successfully conducted multiple protocols and sub-trials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Tuberculosis Clinical Trials Consortium (TBTC) and TB Epidemiologic Studies Consortium (TBESC). With extensive experience in domestic field trials and collaborative work in high TB burden countries, GTBI utilizes its unique capacities of scientific expertise and technical assistance to continue its mission to conduct relevant tuberculosis clinical trials and translational research.

Today, as a result of efforts to increase participation in research trials, GTBI has successfully built a network of facilities in Northern New Jersey that opens access to more than 50% of the state’s TB morbidity. The collaboration of Bergen, Hudson, and Middlesex County Health Departments in conjunction with GTBI’s Lattimore Practice has been valuable in helping to advance to much needed research.  With grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, New Jersey Health Foundation, and other agencies, over the last nine years GTBI has increased its collaboration with investigators at the Public Health Research Institute (PHRI) and the Division of Infectious Diseases to pursue TB research that encompasses various areas of biomedical investigation and public health.

 

Current TB Research Projects:

Urine Colorimetry for Tuberculosis Pharmacokinetics Evaluation in Children and Adults (Pro2018001857) study will examine whether more detailed tuberculosis drug exposure can be measured in urine to provide physicians treating patients with tuberculosis more precise dosing information. Isoniazid, rifampin, and pyrazinamide which are TB medicines currently given at fixed doses but may be optimized in different doses depending on the individual patient. The results from this study could be used to adjust individual anti-tuberculosis regimens, and minimize treatment interruptions and medication side effects. Read more about this study in a recent feature article. (Principal Investigator, Yingda Xie, MD previously led by Christopher Vinnard, MD)

 



Correlation between TB clinical status and lipid metabolism of immune cells in adults (Pro2019000730) study aims to find association between TB clinical status and lipid-regulating functions of immune cells isolated from sputum specimens collected from patients with active tuberculosis, latent TB infection (LTBI), and uninfected participants with an overarching hypothesis that blocking foam cell formation will facilitate macrophage-mediated clearance of M. tuberculosis infection. During active TB, the abundance of foam cells correlates with theextent of tissue damage, linking these cells to immunopathology. Foam cells not only contribute to tissue damage, but also facilitate TB transmission. This study may provide important insight and discovery of novel targets in the pro-lipogenic and anti-lipogenic pathways for the development of foam-cell-directed therapeutic interventions to potentiate current TB treatment to shorten the duration of TB treatment and improving TB-related immunopathology. (Principal InvestigatorMaria Laura Gennaro, MD)



Harnessing the human humoral response against TB (Pro20160000116) study is focused on the development of a new TB diagnostic test that has the necessary performance characteristics to detect TB in the urine of thegreatmajorityofpatientswithsuspected TB, includingpatients with or without HIV-1 coinfection. Antibodies directed against surface antigens of TB, including glycolipidandproteinantigensmay possess immunotherapeutic and immunodiagnostic utility. This study has recently contributed to the development of an innovative and highly sensitive urine test to detect TB in people living with HIV. Current work isdirected at identifying optimal antibody combinations for increased sensitivity and specificity of these reagents so that theycan be developed as an effective point-of-care assay for TB infection. This project may lead to the identification of antibodies that possess greater affinities and novel specificities for TB antigens, and enhanced anti-mycobacterial activities. For therapeutic applications, these monoclonal antibodies can be developed into cocktails administered either as purified proteins or by DNA vaccination, providing an adjunct immunotherapeutic approach to standard drug therapies, and a critical alternative in cases of antibiotic-resistant infections. (Principal Investigator, Abraham Pinter, PhD)

 

 

 

For more information, contact Deborah Handler at: deborah.handler@rutgers.edu