herald

Monday 18 December 2017

Goldilocks gene find gives hope in TB fight

A "Goldilocks" gene that decides when an immune response is "just right" may be used to provide personalised treatments for tuberculosis.

Scientists have found that people generate varying immune reactions to TB according to what version of the LTA4H gene they have.

Their response might be "too little", "too much", or "just right", prompting the nickname "Goldilocks gene".

Different drug treatments are likely to benefit patients differently depending on their LTA4H profile in the future, the research showed.

TB is a major global killer, with 9.4 million cases and 1.7 million deaths reported in 2009.

Usually the bug that causes TB, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, targets the lungs, but 40pc of cases involve infection elsewhere.

Standard TB treatment involves a range of antibiotics coupled with the anti-inflammatory steroid dexamethasone.

hnews@herald.ie

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