New TB drug development: Guest lecture by Dr. Mel Spigelman

(First published by Irish Forum for Global Health - IFGH)
On Thursday 6th March, the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland saw a gathering of clinicians, nurses, scientists, public health experts and more, to attend an event focusing on development of new medications to treat drug-resistant TB.

The event commenced with a screening of Medicins Sans Frontieres’ short film “The Final Frontier: Treating DR-TB” (please click view the film), which clearly and concisely outlined the growing burden of drug-resistant TB, and the international frustrations in trying to combat it. This was followed by the main feature: a lecture from Dr. Mel Spigelman, CEO of the Global Alliance for TB Drug Development (the TB Alliance). During his talk, Dr. Spigelman emphasised the need for better, safer drugs, with shorter treatment times, and highlighted some of the promising new combination treatments which are in the pipeline for treating drug-resistant TB, one of which has now been approved for Phase 3 clinical trials.

You can hear the audio of Dr. Spigelman’s lecture here (please note: some browsers may not correctly display the ‘play’ button- click the left side of the bar to start playback).

The Global Alliance for TB Drug Development is a non-profit organisation building product development partnerships worldwide to lead the creation of better, faster-acting and more affordable drugs to treat TB. Lengthy discussion followed Dr. Spigelman’s lecture, and participants highlighted several examples of high-quality research being carried out in TB laboratories across Ireland, which could pave the way for increased collaboration with the TB Alliance.

Bianca van Bavel and Chiedza McClean, from the IFGH Student Outreach Group were on-hand to report on the event; you can read Bianca’s Key Correspondent article Drug-Resistant Tuberculosis: A Story of Promise (pdf), and Chiedza’s Vlog, featuring a short interview with Dr. Spigelman, here.

Our sincere thanks go out to the staff of RCPI, Irish Aid, MSF, the TB Alliance, and Dr. Spigelman himself for making the event such a success. Informal feedback on the night from attendees was overwhelmingly positive, and we hope that we will see such great attendance from across the global health sector in Ireland at future events.

(First published by Irish Forum for Global Health - IFGH) 

Citizen News Service - CNS
March 2014

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