The TB Alliance held its annual Stakeholder Association meeting in Paris on October 30. The event, hosted by La Maison de l'Amerique Latine, convened leading global institutions in public health, science, and industry, all which support the mission to deliver a faster TB cure.
Dr. Jack Chow, recently appointed as Assistant Director-General of TB-HIV-Malaria at the World Health Organization (WHO), gave the keynote address and stressed that, "New TB drugs will have a profound impact on the way we fight the combined TB-HIV epidemic."
The meeting, chaired by Stakeholder President Dr. Lee Reichman and TB Alliance CEO Dr. Maria C. Freire, highlighted the work over the last year of the Alliance in both the R&D sphere and the advocacy realm. Dr. Freire underscored the importance of the Stakeholder Association members, saying: "This group serves a critical role at the Alliance by both advising and supporting our work. We were delighted to share our activities in depth with new and old friends at this year's meeting."
Dr. Lee Reichman noted, "The extensive activity underscored how much work has gone on behind-the-scenes at the TB Alliance over the past year. The impressive progress underway inspired even more enthusiasm and commitment."
Dr. Mel Spigelman, R&D Director, outlined the TB Alliance's strategy and activities to deliver a new drug: to identify, acquire and develop promising compounds, to promote the best thinking in discovery and development, and to support clinical trial networks. Joelle Tanguy, Director of Advocacy and Public Affairs, shared the TB Alliance's policy approach and recent accomplishments to ensuring the "AAA" Strategy: that new drugs be affordable, accessible and adopted by health workers.
Dr. Grosset of the Johns Hopkins University presented potentially revolutionary findings from mouse model studies funded by the TB Alliance, where replacing moxifloxacin with isoniazid shortened TB therapy to 3-4 months.
Dr. O'Brien of US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) described a current clinical trial with a moxifloxacin-containing regimen that has enlisted a total of 22 patients in sites in the US and Uganda.
Dr. Rouse of Research Triangle Institute and project manager of the PA-824 development team discussed PA-824's rapid preclinical development and the possibility of clinical trials for the compound by the end of next year.
Dr. Laughon of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID/NIH) reviewed her project's screening facility for potential anti-TB compounds. This service is provided free of cost and under confidentiality.
Dr. Duncan of GlaxoSmithKline outlined the challenges and opportunities to improve TB drug discovery efforts.
Dr. Barry, also of NIAID/NIH, discussed the TB Alliance's conference on latency and described alternative approaches to understanding the TB bacterium's behavior in the persistent state.
Dr. Jindani of the International Union Against Tuberculosis and Lung Disease (IUATLD) and lead investigator of clinical trial studies funded by the Alliance, provided an in-depth look at range of ethical and technical issues in TB drug trials.
Dr. Olliaro shared plans from the recently formed European and Developing Countries Clinical Trials Program for supporting clinical trials in the developing world.
Advocacy strategies were outlined in the following presentations:
Dr. Morel of the Tropical Disease Research programme (WHO/UNDP/UNICEF/WB) sketched out the current global framework for R&D activities for diseases of the developing world and recommended close coordination between the Alliance and other public-private partnership efforts.
Dr. Elzinga of the Netherlands National Institute of Public Health and the Environment and chair of the Stop TB Working Group on TB-HIV, showed how a new drug for latent TB would make a dramatic dent in the TB-HIV twin epidemic and argued that we had no choice but to support the TB Alliance.
Dr. Yu, President of Philippines Coalition Against Tuberculosis (PhilCAT), made a compelling and forceful case for new drugs in the context of his daily work in treating TB and MDR-TB patients in the Philippines, where 75 people die every day from TB.
Winstone Zulu, a TB-HIV patient advocate from Zambia, shared his personal struggle with both diseases, and underscored the importance of patients' sharing their experience with the drug development community.