Defining how innate immune function is impacted long term in people who have had active Tuberculosis

The Problem:

Tuberculosis (TB) is a complex disease caused by a bacteria called Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) and claims the lives of 1.4 million people annually. When a person is exposed to Mtb, their immune response may clear the infection asymptomatically, contain it in a dormant state (called latent TB) or it can grow and replicate inside the macrophage causing active TB disease.

The gap in our knowledge:

TB doesn’t play by the rules of the immunity to infection. If you have previously had active TB you are more likely to get sick again with TB than someone who has never had it before and we don't know why.

Our proposed solution:

Our research team study the innate immune response to Mtb and have established ways to therapeutically boost a patient’s own immune system to fight off the bug. We think that Mtb may alter the function of the innate immune response long term in people who have previously had TB. This altered function is a bit like a scar that is left after an injury and we propose that this may be the reason why people who have had TB are more vulnerable to getting TB again. We want to define the status of innate immune cells in people who have had TB compared with healthy people in order to determine if their innate immune responses are reprogrammed by the infection. This will enable us to design a therapy aimed at protecting these vulnerable people from contracting TB again.

Award Date
01 July 2022
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Dr Sharee Basdeo
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin