The challenge of new drug discovery for tuberculosis

Nature. 2011 Jan 27;469(7331):483-90. doi: 10.1038/nature09657.


Tuberculosis (TB) is more prevalent in the world today than at any other time in human history. Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the pathogen responsible for TB, uses diverse strategies to survive in a variety of host lesions and to evade immune surveillance. A key question is how robust are our approaches to discovering new TB drugs, and what measures could be taken to reduce the long and protracted clinical development of new drugs. The emergence of multi-drug-resistant strains of M. tuberculosis makes the discovery of new molecular scaffolds a priority, and the current situation even necessitates the re-engineering and repositioning of some old drug families to achieve effective control. Whatever the strategy used, success will depend largely on our proper understanding of the complex interactions between the pathogen and its human host. In this review, we discuss innovations in TB drug discovery and evolving strategies to bring newer agents more quickly to patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / chemistry
  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cell Respiration / drug effects
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Resistance, Bacterial
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*


  • Antitubercular Agents