Abstract

The spectre of the coming post-antibiotic age demands novel therapies for infectious diseases. Tuberculosis (TB), caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis, is the single deadliest infection throughout human history. M. tuberculosis has acquired antibiotic resistance at an alarming rate with some strains reported as being totally drug resistant. Host-directed therapies (HDTs) attempt to overcome the evolution of antibiotic resistance by targeting relatively immutable host processes. Here, I hypothesise the induction of hypoxia via anti-angiogenic therapy will be an efficacious HDT against TB. I argue that anti-angiogenic therapy is a modernisation of industrial revolution era sanatoria treatment for TB, and present a view of the TB granuloma as a ‘bacterial tumour’ that can be treated with anti-angiogenic therapies to reduce bacterial burden and spare host immunopathology. I suggest two complementary modes of action, induction of bacterial dormancy and activation of host hypoxia-induced factor (HIF)-mediated immunity, and define the experimental tools necessary to test this hypothesis.

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