Seattle, Wash. - Two billion people, or nearly one-third of the world's population, are infected with tuberculosis. Fully two million die of it each year. Today's treatment is the same as it was in the 1960s, yielding inconsistent results that help spawn drug-resistant strains of TB, making the disease even more deadly. It's a global challenge being broken down to its smallest pieces in the laboratories of Seattle Biomedical Research Institute.
Seattle Biomed researchers are using some of the most advanced techniques of molecular genetics, biochemistry and microbiology in their fight against this disease. They are looking to create fast, effective and affordable drugs that will win the battle against TB. Drug discovery takes many years and costs hundreds of millions of dollars, but with the Foundation's help, the researchers of Seattle Biomed are committed to finding a cure that can be deployed worldwide. Their work is blazing a trail that will literally change our world.
David Sherman, Ph.D.
Head, Tuberculosis Program
Just as people need an alarm to wake up, the latent form of tuberculosis requires a signal to move from latency to active disease. At Seattle Biomedical Research Institute, we have already discovered how one "alarm clock"—a blast of fresh oxygen—stirs latent TB from its slumber. Providing new insight into what makes TB tick, this project is just one of several funded by our $5 million Paul G. Allen Family Foundation challenge grant. These projects are critical to gain new knowledge that could lead to the development of faster-acting, more effective drugs.
Ken Stuart, Ph.D.
Founder and President
Tuberculosis is a killer disease that is in dire need of new scientific insight. Knowing the basic biology of TB helps identify new approaches to improve the effectiveness of existing TB drugs and shorten the duration of treatment. As critical early stage supporters, the Foundation encouraged others to invest and join us in the fight to stop TB. The grant allowed Seattle BioMed to equip our high tech lab and to recruit top researchers in the field. Our most recent recruit is an expert immunologist with his sights set on identifying strategies that could contribute to the development of an effective TB vaccine.