New Tool for an Old Disease: Use of PET and CT Scans May Help Develop Shorter TB Treatment

Experts believe that tuberculosis, or TB, has been a scourge for humans for some 15,000 years, with the first medical documentation of the disease coming out of India around 1000 B.C.E. Today, the World Health Organization reports that TB is still the leading cause of death worldwide from a single infectious agent, responsible for some 1.5 million fatalities annually. Primary treatment for TB for the past 50 years has remained unchanged and still requires patients to take multiple drugs daily for at least six months. Successful treatment with these anti-TB drugs — taken orally or injected into the bloodstream — depends on the medications “finding their way” into pockets of TB bacteria buried deep within the lungs.

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