Immunometabolic manipulation of pulmonary immunity - towards TB host directed therapy

Tuberculosis (TB) is a major global health emergency, with over one and a half million people dying per year, despite being a curable disease. Drug-resistant TB is a new aspect of the epidemic meaning this disease has now become more difficult to treat with antibiotics. Consequently there is urgent need to generate better treatments, vaccines and new ways to prevent people who are infected with the bacteria progressing to active disease. Our research group at St James's Hospital study how human lungs fight TB disease, particularly the immune cells in the lung. We are particularly interested in studying the way in which the lung cells use energy sources, known as metabolism, to power the cells to fight infection. When TB bacteria invade lung cells they can cause the cells to use energy inefficiently which can affect the immune response. By studying how TB bacteria can change the metabolism of immune cells we can find new targets to improve drug development for patients with TB. We seek to better understand how drug-resistant strains of the bacteria exploit cell metabolism to corrupt the immune response. We hope to discover new and improved ways to support the host immune system in patients infected with multiple-drug-resistant TB. Finally, there are some medicines used to treat chronic inflammatory conditions which can interfere with cell metabolism. It is important that we gain better understanding in how these medicines interfere with metabolism during TB infection to address the chronic inflammatory conditions seen in our patients.

Award Date
27 June 2019
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Joseph Keane
Host Institution
Trinity College Dublin
Investigator Led Projects