Non-tuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) cause lung diseases that look like (but are not) tuberculosis (TB), mainly in people with weakened immune systems or patients with other lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis. NTM infections are caused by bacteria such as Mycobacterium avium complex and Mycobacterium abscessus, both of which are related to the TB-causing bacteria Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Cases of NTM disease are on the rise worldwide, and in regions where TB is largely under control, NTM is much more common than TB. Although treatments exist for the most common NTM infections, they do not always work well, and the complex treatment regimen can last as long as two years. Studies have shown that there are now cases of multi-drug resistant NTM. The goal of RespiriNTM is to find new drug candidates that could be part of a new, more efficient drug regimen for NTM with a shorter treatment time. The team will focus its efforts on the respiratory pathway of the bacteria that cause the disease. They will also carry out research to identify new drug targets that could be used to attack NTM bacteria. Finally, the team will study the factors that allow NTM bacteria to survive in humans.
RespiriNTM is part of the IMI AMR Accelerator Programme.