BEEM researchers win Grand Challenges Canada grant

Congratulations to Professors Radhakrishnan Mahadevan, Alexei Savchenko and Alexander Yakunin, whose project titled "Low cost TB drugs created using synthetic biology" has won a grant from Grand Challenges Canada as part of the "Stars in Global Health" program.


Tuberculosis (TB) affects 9 million people worldwide and kills 1.4 million people annually, mostly in developing countries.  It is also increasingly resistant to treatment by standard first-line drugs, with up to 28% of cases in some regions being multi drug resistant (MDR).  The high cost of second line drugs for the treatment of MDR-TB can be a prohibitive obstacle to treatment in low-income countries.  These drugs are currently produced by extracting them from bacteria called Streptomyces that produce these compounds in their cells.  The project team aims to lower the drugs' costs by using synthetic biology tools to transfer the production pathway into yeast, for faster and cheaper production.  Working with partners in India, one of the many countries where MDR-TB is a serious health issue, the project's ultimate goal is to make treatment accessible to a larger part of the affected population.


Watch the project's video for a more detailed description.

Read about all of the Grand Challenges projects.