Science Market Update

MSU Researcher Weakens TB With Glaucoma Treatment

Posted by Sam Asher on Thu, Jul 30, 2015

Two years ago, we told the story of a University of Illinois researcher who discovered a potentially potent tuberculosis treatment in the form of bacteria found at the bottom of the sea. We now turn our attention to Michigan State University, where bioresearchers are using a well-known glaucoma treatment to shut down even the most drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis.

According to the World Health Organization, TB claimed 1.4 million people in 2011, making it second to HIV as the world’s most deadly infectious disease. Perhaps an even more staggering fact is that an estimated 2 billion people carry TB. In most of these cases, the immune system is able to keep the disease in check, though it cannot eradicate it entirely.

These statistics inspired Robert Abramovitch (image below, courtesy MSU), an MSU microbiologist, to consider researching ways to make TB more susceptible to the immune system. His viewpoint, as he states in a recent MSU press release, is that “[w]e don’t necessarily have to find drugs that kill TB, we just need to find ones that interfere with the bug’s ability to sense and resist the immune system.”


“By giving the immune system a helping hand, natural defenses can then kill the bacteria.”

To find a way to weaken TB, Abramovitch tested 273,000 different compounds and found a particularly promising one called ethoxzolamide. “Basically, ethoxzolamide stops TB from deploying its weapons…shutting down its ability to grow inside certain white blood cells in the immune system,” says Abramovitch.

Abramovitch believes that ethoxzolamide, which is commonly used in glaucoma treatment, can prevent TB from spreading, shorten the length of treatment, and slow the emergence of drug resistance. He will continue to test the compound to see how it interacts with existing tuberculosis treaments.

This research has been funded through the National Institutes of Health, MSU startup funds, AgBioResearch and the Jean P. Schultz Biomedical Research Fund. For more information on the grants MSU earns with its outstanding research, peruse our free Funding Statistics report, below:


Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. pays a visit to Michigan State University each year for the East Lansing BioResearch Product Faire™, a life science event held right on the university campus. Biotechnology Calendar is a full service event company that has produced on-campus, life science research trade shows nationwide for the past 20 years. We plan and promote each event to bring the best products and services to the finest research campuses across the country. If you are a university researcher or a laboratory product vendor, consider attending one of our on-campus trade shows: here is our 2015 schedule.

Tags: Michigan State University, 2015, BioResearch Product Faire Event, MI, East Lansing, MSU

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