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[Health Research Board] Breakthrough in smoking and tuberculosis link. (14 Nov 2014)

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HRB-funded research unlocks the mechanism linking smoking and increased TB risk. Discovery opens up new routes to treat and prevent the infectious disease which kills 1.5 million people a year.

HRB Clinician Scientist Professor Joseph Keane, from Trinity College Dublin and St James's Hospital, is the senior author of the study, and says,

'This study provides evidence which explains the link between smoking and TB and should considerably strengthen anti-smoking efforts to control TB. However, the widespread emergence of multi-drug resistance TB means we badly need new therapy and vaccine options for TB. We are already applying the findings of this study to develop new treatment options'.

Graham Love, Chief Executive at the Health Research Board commented:

'Patients worldwide who are affected by TB could benefit from this Irish research. Professor Keane continues to identify relevant research questions from his clinical work. He determinedly pursues the answers during his protected time for research through his HRB Clinician Scientist Award. This is yielding results which could now lead to new treatment options for TB.

The Clinician Scientist Award allows leading clinicians to set aside protected time to do research, and it funds a replacement clinician to ensure that overall patient service levels remain unchanged. You get the best of both worlds. Clinicians who can do research linked to their patients needs, and researchers who are able to quickly bring their research results into clinical practice'.

This research was funded by the Health Research Board and The Royal City of Dublin Hospital Trust. The paper has just been published in the top respiratory journal, the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine.

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