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Research - Tuberculosis
Tuberculosis
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly nine million people around the world become sick with tuberculosis, with an estimated two millionTB-related deaths.

Tuberculosis research has been a focus of the Trudeau Institute since its inception more than 125 years ago. Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau, the Institute’s founder, was the first American physician to isolate the bacterium responsible for the disease, and he established the first U.S. laboratory for TB research in 1884.

Tuberculosis continues to be a threat to global health. According to the World Health Organization, more than eight million new cases occur each year. In the United States, it is estimated that 10- to 15-million people are already infected with the tuberculosis bacteria, and 22,000 new cases of TB occur each year.

Tuberculosis infection typically occurs in the upper part of the lungs. A healthy immune system can stop the bacteria from reproducing, resulting in dormancy. If the immune system is unable to contain the bacteria, however, the pathogens reproduce and become active in the lungs and possibly elsewhere in the body.

Antibiotics such as penicillin have been used for decades to treat TB. Recently, however, drug-resistant strains of the bacteria have become a serious problem, especially in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. In particular, new extremely-drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) strains have rapidly spread throughout countries such as South Africa, and a few cases have been documented here in the United States.

Trudeau scientists are working on a number of fronts to develop approaches to contain, treat and prevent TB through a better understanding of how the immune system responds to Mycobacterium tuberculosis and how it might be induced, through vaccines or other treatments, to fight TB infection more successfully.




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