Researchers investigating new applications of old drugs on a fight against Tuberculosis (TB)


Tolman stated:  “Around the world, we’re becoming very concerned about the treatment options, given how more and more of the drugs currently used are becoming ineffective. Clofazimine is what you might call a ‘bad drug,’ but we’re seeing if we use it in a new way, it has the possibility to be effective against tuberculosis.”

In 2018, Alumna students in the laboratories of Tolman and North worked on introductory students and later that year the National Institute of Health (NIH) was fascinated enough to award the researchers North & Tolman who were working together with an engineering institute to develop an inhaler device for the delivery of the drug. Expecting a bright outcome, the researchers are hoping to begin the experimentation of healthy mice & rat models in summer. They will observe the means by which drugs work in their lungs & whether it advances towards other body parts and other possible effects on the function of the organ.

Tolman said: “So far, everything is progressing very well. The thing I’m most interested in is a bit of data that’s not been reported on to date in the pharmacokinetic literature: does clofazimine stay in the lungs or does it move to the rest of the body? Once we know that, it’ll answer a whole bunch of questions.”

While North has his entire career spent in TB research, this is a new venture for Tolman although he has experience of working with lung infections. About his past experience of working with drugs like clofazimine, he said:  “Taking another look at it this way has been interesting,” he said. “I’m also glad to be looking at tuberculosis. It’s a serious infection and a major cause of death around the world. If we can find ways to kill the TB bacteria and get answers about effective treatment, that’s what we’re hoping we can do.”