Tuberculosis (TB) causes nearly 2 million deaths each year. A hallmark of the disease is the presence of pulmonary granulomas, which are morphologically similar to solid cancerous tumours, featuring a hypoxic microenvironment and areas of fibrosis.
reported in PNAS suggests that TB granulomas also have a functionally abnormal vasculature with enhanced expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The researchers also showed that bevacizumab, an anti-VEGF drug widely used to treat cancer and eye disease, was able to normalise the granuloma vasculature, improve the delivery of small molecules, and decrease hypoxia in a rabbit model of TB.
The findings provide “a potential avenue to improve delivery and efficacy of current treatment regimens”, the researchers conclude.
 Datta M, Via LE, Kamoun WS et al. Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor treatment normalizes tuberculosis granuloma vasculature and improves small molecule delivery. PNAS Early Edition 2015; doi: 10.1073/pnas.1424563112.