Breaking News
April 20, 2018 - Cancer Australia launches new framework to improve outcomes for lung cancer patients
April 20, 2018 - ‘Gut-on-a-chip’ model recreates intestinal matrix critical for nutrient absorption
April 20, 2018 - Researchers develop new drug-testing platform for epilepsy
April 20, 2018 - FDA Alert: NxtGen Botanicals Maeng Da Kratom by NGB Corp.: Recall
April 20, 2018 - Pelizaeus-Merzbacher-like disease type 1 – Genetics Home Reference
April 20, 2018 - Tick-borne diseases reach epidemic levels, panel says
April 20, 2018 - A potential “male pill” without side effects
April 20, 2018 - Researchers discover new information related to rare form of leukemia
April 20, 2018 - Researchers find crucial links between dopamine and avoidance behavior
April 20, 2018 - UGA scientist creates system for efficient detection of foodborne pathogens
April 20, 2018 - Social Support of Autonomy Tied to Better Glycemic Control in DM
April 20, 2018 - Study reports use of nutritional ketosis with mobile app intervention could reverse Type 2 diabetes
April 20, 2018 - New microscopy techniques allow quasi-biochemical studies on living T cells
April 20, 2018 - Study shows connection between muscular strength and brain health
April 20, 2018 - Ecolab introduces Life Sciences cleanroom program in North America
April 20, 2018 - Male fruit flies like sex and alcohol
April 20, 2018 - Improving job prospects unlikely to control opioid epidemic
April 20, 2018 - Skin Sensor Might Someday Track Alcoholics’ Booze Intake
April 20, 2018 - The relevance of GABA for diabetes highlighted in two new studies
April 20, 2018 - Novel method enables fast and noninvasive assessment of tumor status
April 20, 2018 - IU psychologist receives NIH grant to study earliest phases of language learning in children
April 20, 2018 - Walking fast lowers risk of hospitalization in heart patients, shows study
April 20, 2018 - Young victims of cyberbullying twice as likely to attempt suicide and enact suicidal behavior
April 20, 2018 - Role of UBE3A enzyme in Angelman syndrome
April 20, 2018 - NovaDigm Therapeutics initiates NDV-3A Phase 2a study for reduction of S. aureus in military trainees
April 20, 2018 - High-tech microscope reveals how cancer-causing virus anchors itself to human DNA
April 20, 2018 - Experimental compound reduces destructive inflammation to improve stroke outcome
April 20, 2018 - The May issue of Drug Discovery Today is a Special Issue and will be published very soon
April 20, 2018 - Larger families linked to heightened tooth loss risk for moms
April 20, 2018 - Scientists develop tiny fluorescent probe that seeks out GLUT5 and detects cancer cells
April 20, 2018 - The Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation awards grant to KI researchers
April 20, 2018 - AMSBIO’s MC-Easy minicircle technology allows sustained transgene expression in quiescent cells and tissues
April 20, 2018 - Researchers use optogenetics to treat chronic pain
April 20, 2018 - Discovery of 100 new genes may aid research into pigmentation
April 20, 2018 - AYOXXA introduces new LUNARIS Mouse 12-Plex Th17 Kit for quantitative analysis of Th17 cell biology
April 20, 2018 - Compound derived from immune cells treats psoriasis in mice
April 20, 2018 - GABA-transaminase deficiency – Genetics Home Reference
April 20, 2018 - Key heart risks decline for older Americans
April 20, 2018 - UD professor wins $2.3 million grant from NIH for research on Achilles tendinopathy
April 20, 2018 - Researchers discover unique protein in malaria parasite that could be new drug target
April 20, 2018 - Bio-Techne expands automation capabilities of popular RNAscope ISH technology
April 20, 2018 - Smartphone app effective in promoting proper child car seat practices
April 20, 2018 - Nutraceuticals could play an important role in preventing heart disease
April 20, 2018 - FDA Alert: Certain Kratom-Containing Powder Products by Viable Solutions: Recall -Possible Salmonella Contamination
April 20, 2018 - What is heart failure?
April 20, 2018 - TIP Biosystems introduces handheld UV-Visible spectrophotometer for photometric measurements
April 20, 2018 - Inactivity of astronauts during spaceflights may have more pronounced effect on skeletal muscle than hypoxia
April 20, 2018 - New SIDS Info app seeks to reduce infant sleep-related deaths
April 20, 2018 - Wide-scale distribution of naloxone effectively prevents overdose deaths, study finds
April 20, 2018 - Triple-negative breast cancer found to be chemoresistant prior to treatment
April 20, 2018 - ACL tears occur the same way in women and men, study finds
April 20, 2018 - UT Southwestern researchers identify 170 potential therapeutic targets for lung cancer
April 20, 2018 - Finding the ‘keyhole’ to beat obesity at the cellular level
April 20, 2018 - Long-term exposure to cold temperatures reduces diabetes and obesity, shows study
April 20, 2018 - Metabolic Syndrome Common With Chronic Hep B Infection
April 20, 2018 - Tracking quality of life during prostate cancer treatment
April 20, 2018 - Study shows presence of beta-amyloid dimers in the brains of Alzheimer’s patients
April 20, 2018 - Researchers identify link between physical inactivity and increased risk of dying from cancer
April 20, 2018 - Breathtaking evolution amongst Indonesian tribe
April 20, 2018 - Study shows testosterone deficiency in men is associated with chronic diseases
April 20, 2018 - Simple one-page form helps improve satisfaction of patients with care
April 20, 2018 - Researchers evaluate accuracy of simple blood test to predict lung cancer
April 20, 2018 - Study looks at sperm producing ability in testicular cancer patients
April 20, 2018 - Exercise In, Vitamin D Out for Preventing Falls: U.S. Panel
April 20, 2018 - Skin cancers associated with decreased risk of developing AD
April 20, 2018 - Preserving fertility during chemotherapy
April 20, 2018 - Teva and Procter & Gamble Company terminate PGT Healthcare partnership
April 20, 2018 - People diagnosed with traumatic brain injury may have increased risk of Parkinson’s disease, shows study
April 20, 2018 - Researchers use smartphone to diagnose people infected with Loa loa worm
April 20, 2018 - College students with autism have high rate of suicidal thoughts
April 20, 2018 - Study sheds light on how the HSC niche is maintained
April 20, 2018 - Drug test spurs frank talk between hypertension patients and doctors
April 19, 2018 - Low-cost deworming drug improves female farmers’ physical fitness
April 19, 2018 - Genome editing identifies neural circuit behind leptin’s anti-obesity and anti-diabetes effects
April 19, 2018 - Many European countries lack comprehensive policy to eliminate viral hepatitis
April 19, 2018 - Young people with ADHD ‘more likely’ to come from deprived neighbourhoods
April 19, 2018 - SLU professor discovers new biomarkers for chlorine gas exposure
April 19, 2018 - Study proposes new mechanism that may contribute to gender differences in weight control
April 19, 2018 - Sleep restriction therapy does not interfere with insomnia patient’s driving ability, research shows
April 19, 2018 - Deep brain stimulation offers relief to UTHealth patient with treatment-resistant depression

Drug-Resistant Bacteria: On the Edge of a Crisis

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Drug-Resistant Bacteria: On the Edge of a Crisis

Photo: iStock

For the past 70 years, antimicrobial drugs, such as antibiotics, have successfully treated patients with infections. But over time, many infectious organisms have adapted to the drugs that kill them, making them less e ective. Overusing or misusing these drugs can make resistance develop even faster.

Each year in the U.S. at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. At least 23,000 people die annually as a direct result of these infections. Many more people die from complications of antibiotic-resistant infections.

To address this growing problem, the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) is working to speed the development of faster ways to detect resistance and ultimately to nd new treatments that are e ective against these drug-resistant bacteria.

Anthony S. Fauci, M.D., has been the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) since 1984. He helped pioneer the field of human immunoregulation, or the control of specific immune responses and interactions. He has also advised five presidents and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on HIV/AIDS and many other health issues. He spoke to NIH MedlinePlus magazine to discuss NIAID’s drug-resistant bacteria research program.

Why are certain bacteria becoming more resistant to drugs?

There is a multi-part answer to that question. One of the most important reasons is that bacteria generally mutate—all microbes mutate—naturally and spontaneously. However, you can do things that pressure them to mutate even more and develop resistance to drugs.

Each year in the U.S., at least 2 million people become infected with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics
– Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

One of the major factors in certain bacteria becoming resistant to drugs today is the overuse of antibiotics, particularly the inappropriate use of antibiotics. This includes using antibiotics when you do not really have to—either when you have a viral infection that you think is bacterial and treat it with an antibiotic, or you treat someone with the wrong antibiotic that is not particularly suited to the bacteria in question.

In other words, if you are given antibiotics, you will kill all the sensitive bacteria. Most of the ones that will survive will be the resistant ones.

You and other experts in the field have said that we are on the edge of a national, even global crisis of drug-resistant bacteria. Why is that?

The more we see this growing problem of antimicrobial resistance throughout the world, the more we will begin to see bacteria that are relatively untreatable or very, very difficult to treat. And if those bacteria become very widespread, that could lead to a serious crisis.

What might such a situation look like to most people?

A typical, real-life example would be someone gets a surgical procedure like a hip or knee replacement, or goes to the hospital for abdominal surgery. Then they get an infection that happens to come from another hospital patient who has resistant bacteria. What should be a routine procedure could lead to an infection that you struggle to treat, and you end up with a high degree of morbidity or even mortality. The routine surgical case becomes a medical emergency.

What kinds of antimicrobial-resistant bacteria are common in the U.S.?

We still have the problem of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which is disturbing. Another one that is also disturbing is called Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae, or CRE. That is a growing problem. We see that in hospital patients who are immunosuppressed as a result of, for example, transplants or drugs that suppress their cancer or their inflammatory disease. Another bacteria that causes infections when antibiotics are overused is Clostridium difficile (C. Difficile), which we see a lot of in nursing homes and hospital settings.

Those three are big ones—MRSA, CRE, and C. Difficile. And, depending on the population in question, globally we are seeing more and more resistance to gonorrhea, a sexually transmitted disease.

How is NIAID approaching research to help solve the challenges associated with antimicrobial resistance?

Our research spans a wide range of activities, starting with understanding the molecular basis of how bacterial resistance evolves.

The second thing we are doing is a molecular analysis of microbes to determine what the targets are for resistance and for new antibiotics. Another is to develop new, unique ways of combating bacteria, such as understanding how microbes survive in different environments and exploiting that to fight them.

We also spend a lot of time working with the pharmaceutical companies on concept development towards the ultimate development of new antibiotics. While new antibiotics will ultimately be made by pharmaceutical companies, NIH and NIAID have a basic, fundamental role in the clinical and applied research and development of these new antibiotics.

Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles