Key activities conducted by TREAT TB are aimed at benefitting global, regional, and national TB and multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) control efforts. They include the STREAM clinical trial, targeted operational research, and technical assistance to national TB programs. TREAT TB’s approach is to build capacity where it works to ensure sustainable impact, and to collaborate closely with affected communities to ensure they benefit from TREAT TB’s activities. TREAT TB was set up with funds from the US Agency for International Development (USAID) in 2008.
TREAT TB has been implementing the STREAM clinical trial since 2012. STREAM is the first large-scale, multi-country clinical trial to examine shortened regimens for MDR-TB. It is also the first phase III trial to test the efficacy and safety of bedaquiline, one of the newest TB drugs, within a shortened treatment regimen. Having recruited more than 800 patients since it began recruitment in 2012, STREAM is now the world’s largest recruited clinical trial for MDR-TB.
Operational research (OR) plays a key role in generating the evidence needed to guide policies and programs. As a result, building OR skills in public health practitioners and researchers is vitally important. TREAT TB has conducted in-person OR training courses for health professionals in high-TB burden countries, and produced several free online educational resources including an interactive e-tool, which provides health practitioners and researchers with a foundational overview of operational research concepts and practices.
TREAT TB is strengthening capacity to conduct clinical trials, particularly in countries where the burden of TB is greatest. As part of the STREAM trial, TREAT TB supports specialised training for STREAM study teams. TREAT TB also holds regular webinars covering key aspects of clinical trial implementation. Facilitated by TREAT TB and led by experts, these webinars offer participants an opportunity to learn about common challenges and solutions in connection with clinical trial implementation.
TREAT TB supports community engagement activities at all STREAM clinical trial sites to ensure that community stakeholders are equipped to collaborate on the trial and future research, and are consulted throughout the research cycle. Community advisory boards (CABs) have been established at all STREAM sites. STREAM CABs are comprised of community members who provide a crucial link between the community and the research team.
TREAT TB provides technical assistance to national TB programs to improve TB control in high-burden settings. In the Philippines, TREAT TB has provided a comprehensive package of technical assistance to support national scale-up of the standard short treatment regimen for MDR-TB and strengthen capacity to conduct operational research.