The future for early-stage tuberculosis drug discovery

Future Microbiol. 2015;10(2):217-29. doi: 10.2217/fmb.14.125.


There is an urgent need for new and better drugs to treat tuberculosis due to lengthy and complex treatment regimens and a rising problem of drug resistance. Drug discovery efforts have increased over the past few years, with a larger focus on modern high-throughput screening technologies. A combination of target-based approaches, with the traditional empirical means of drug identification, has been complemented by the use of target-based phenotypic screens only recently made possibly with newer genetic tools. Using these approaches, a number of promising compound series have been discovered. However, significant problems remain in developing these into drugs. This review highlights recent advances in TB drug discovery, including an overview of screening campaigns, lessons learned and future directions.

Keywords: Mycobacterium tuberculosis; drug target; essential genes; high-throughput screening; tuberculosis drug discovery.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antitubercular Agents / pharmacology*
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Design
  • Drug Discovery*
  • Drug Evaluation, Preclinical
  • Humans
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / drug effects*
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / genetics
  • Tuberculosis / drug therapy*
  • Tuberculosis / microbiology


  • Antitubercular Agents