Researchers at the University of Leicester have announced they have made a significant breakthrough towards finding a cure for tuberculosis (TB).
And they claim that they could now be just five to 10 years away from finding a treatment for the disease.
Academics from the university's department of biochemistry have discovered two proteins in the TB bacterium which they believe allow the disease to thrive in white blood cells.
They hope that now these molecules have been identified it will be possible to find a drug that can effectively fight them and in turn produce a cure for TB.
Over the last few years the disease has been resurgent, not only in the Third World but also in developed countries, and according to the World Health Organization, there were 8,500 reported instances of the disease in the UK in 2005.
Dr Mark Carr, who has led the research at the university, said: "It's a significant step. When we started, there wasn't a single TB protein that was directly associated as having the ability to cause the disease.
"We are probably at least five, and probably 10, years away from producing a drug that can treat TB."