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Follow the Drugs

Observing where TB antibiotic localises in TB-affected tissue

17 February 2021

Follow the Drugs

In order for antibiotic drugs to be effective at treating bacterial infections, they need to get to where the bugs are. The lung disease tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria, is particularly stubborn, often taking at least six months of treatment with three different antibiotics to get rid of it. To find out why, researchers have developed a new technique known as CLEIMiT, which uses three different types of microscopy to reveal exactly where drugs have gone inside tissues and even individual cells. These images are different coloured versions of the lungs of a mouse infected with Mycobacterium tuberculosis that has been treated with an antibiotic called bedaquiline. Although the drug appears to successfully get into some infected cells, it doesn’t reach them all. The findings are a vital insight into how antibiotics are working in the body and help to explain why TB is so difficult to treat.

Written by Kat Arney

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BPoD stands for Biomedical Picture of the Day. Managed by the MRC Laboratory of Medical Sciences until Jul 2023, it is now run independently by a dedicated team of scientists and writers. The website aims to engage everyone, young and old, in the wonders of biology, and its influence on medicine. The ever-growing archive of more than 4000 research images documents over a decade of progress. Explore the collection and see what you discover. Images are kindly provided for inclusion on this website through the generosity of scientists across the globe.

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