The University of Stellenbosch

Paediatric Tuberculosis Research

The Desmond Tutu TB Centre (DTTC) is well-recognized as a global leader in paediatric tuberculosis (TB) research. With expertise in diagnostics, epidemiology and the prevention and treatment of TB, the DTTC continually generates ground breaking data on children. The paediatric group leads the global scientific agenda by conducting seminal research in the evaluation of novel therapeutic strategies for drug susceptible and multidrug-resistant TB in children. The group is well networked both locally and internationally and actively participates in policy development and advocacy for paediatric TB.

The director of the Centre, Anneke Hesseling, holds a South African National Research Foundation (NRF) Research Chair in Paediatric TB. The paediatric group currently conducts research in several community and hospital-based sites. The group officially opened its state of the art paediatric pharmacokinetics clinical research unit at the Brooklyn Chest Hospital (Medical director: Dr Tony Garcia-Prats) in July 2016, where it has been working for more than a decade. This unit has since been expanded, reflecting the urgent need for clinical research in this domain. Multiple trials for antituberculosis treatment (including novel drugs like delamanid and bedaquiline) are ongoing.

The DTTC is a clinical site (Site 31790) for the National Institute for Health (NIH) -funded International Maternal, Paediatric, Adolescent AIDS Clinical Trials (IMPAACT) where we are currently conducting several therapeutic TB trials.  The DTTC is also a site (Site 33) for the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC) – funded TB Clinical Trials Consortium (TBTC). The group leads and implements several investigator-initiated trials on prevention, diagnostics and therapeutics for paediatric TB, with a strong focus on MDR-TB. The group has published more than 250 peer-reviewed articles over the past 15 years.

In the Spotlight:

  • The paediatric TB research group at the DTTC has graduated two Master’s degrees and two PhD students, with two new PhD students registered, one postdoctoral fellow from Spain, Elisa Lopez, and a British Medical Research Council (BMRC)-funded research fellow from Imperial College London, James Seddon, who has received an extraordinary appointment at the DTTC as Senior Researcher.
  • The group’s research has resulted in more than 50 publications in international peer-reviewed journals, participation in several national and international TB treatment guideline meetings, including with World Health Organisation (WHO), Centers for Disease Control (CDC), American Thoracic Society (ATS), European Respiratory Society (ERS) and with the South African National Department of Health.