Breaking News
March 21, 2018 - Dermira’s Two Phase 3 Trials Evaluating Olumacostat Glasaretil in Patients with Acne Vulgaris Did Not Meet Co-Primary Endpoints
March 21, 2018 - ‘Oh, It Was Nothing’
March 21, 2018 - Herbal drug kratom linked to salmonella illnesses, CDC says
March 21, 2018 - New optical point-of-care device could enhance screening for thyroid nodules
March 21, 2018 - FDA Expands Approval of Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) for First-Line Treatment of Stage III or IV Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma in Combination with Chemotherapy
March 21, 2018 - Eosinophilic Esophagitis: Late Manifestation of Allergic March
March 21, 2018 - Signaling pathway involving the Golgi apparatus identified in cells with Huntington’s disease
March 21, 2018 - Quintupling inhaled steroid doses may not benefit children with asthma
March 21, 2018 - Study shows clear connection between cardiovascular fitness in middle age and dementia risk
March 21, 2018 - Premature babies have higher risks of health complications in Bangladesh
March 21, 2018 - Child’s temperament and parenting influence weight gain in babies
March 21, 2018 - Researchers find the heart to be capable of arrhythmia termination after local gene therapy
March 21, 2018 - Inhealthcare to provide digital infrastructure for NHS to help protect people from falls
March 21, 2018 - Flu Season Finally Slowing Down
March 21, 2018 - Mixed Results for Shorter DAPT in ACS Patients
March 21, 2018 - Scientists discover fish scale-derived collagen effective for healing wounds
March 21, 2018 - Genomics England announces new partnership to improve efficiency of next-generation sequencing analysis
March 21, 2018 - Adjuvant AC chemotherapy found to be effective in treating HRD-positive breast cancer patients
March 21, 2018 - Researchers identify new treatment targets for lung diseases using big data
March 21, 2018 - Kids see more women in science than five decades ago
March 21, 2018 - Research shows link between chronic fatigue syndrome and lower thyroid hormone levels
March 21, 2018 - Alzheimer’s disease on the rise
March 21, 2018 - Two Agents Equal as Pretreatment for Adrenal Tumor Surgery
March 21, 2018 - ‘Icebreaker’ protein opens genome for T cell development, researchers find
March 21, 2018 - Women in medicine shout #Metoo about sexual harassment at work
March 21, 2018 - Mother’s pre-pregnancy waist size may be linked to child’s autism risk
March 21, 2018 - Second hand marijuana smoke can cause serious damage
March 21, 2018 - International study shows benefits of using MRI at the start of prostate cancer diagnosis
March 20, 2018 - Santhera Reports Outcome of Exploratory Trial with Idebenone in PPMS Conducted at the NIH
March 20, 2018 - ECG Patch Ups At-Home Afib Diagnosis in mSToPS Trial
March 20, 2018 - ROS-scavenging nanozymes for anti-inflammation therapeutics
March 20, 2018 - Genomics England announces appointment of global genomics pioneer as first CEO
March 20, 2018 - Test flight at German Aerospace Center in Cologne demonstrates functionality of deficopter
March 20, 2018 - Music therapy helps treat combat-related psychological injuries in military personnel
March 20, 2018 - Innovative psychotherapeutic treatment protocol for obsessive-compulsive disorders
March 20, 2018 - Weight loss after lap-band surgery alleviates arthritic knee pain
March 20, 2018 - New diabetes drug may help obese people shed body weight
March 20, 2018 - Novel Peanut OIT a Winner in Phase III Trial
March 20, 2018 - Can gene therapy be harnessed to fight the AIDS virus?
March 20, 2018 - Education and academic achievement can lessen effects of child abuse, neglect
March 20, 2018 - Researchers develop new algorithm to make CPR more effective
March 20, 2018 - Diabetes medication reduces chance of late miscarriage, premature birth among women with PCOS
March 20, 2018 - SSRIs may be more effective option for treating anxious youth, UC research shows
March 20, 2018 - Antibiotics could benefit women suffering from chronic bladder pain
March 20, 2018 - Health Highlights: March 16, 2018
March 20, 2018 - Interventional Radiology Has a Problem of ‘Unseen’ Value
March 20, 2018 - Antibodies show effectiveness for HIV prevention and promise for treatment and cure
March 20, 2018 - New 3-D-printed technology will improve radiology training
March 20, 2018 - New study identifies key role for particular gene in 16p11.2 deletion syndrome
March 20, 2018 - Red and processed meat increase the risk of liver disease
March 20, 2018 - 50% of Australians do not brush teeth twice a day
March 20, 2018 - American Gene Technologies receives second immuno-oncology patent
March 20, 2018 - Study finds no link between long-term violent video game play and adult aggression
March 20, 2018 - Weight loss surgery widely underutilized among young patients with severe obesity
March 20, 2018 - Scientists uncover new answers to cell aging in children with rare, fatal disease
March 20, 2018 - The Pistoia Alliance Calls for Greater Life Sciences Collaboration to Build the ‘Lab of the Future’
March 20, 2018 - Morning Break: Psychopathic Thought; Americans Flout Zzz’s; Farm to Pharma
March 20, 2018 - Perceptions of old age change as we age
March 20, 2018 - New standards for public involvement in research launched across the UK
March 20, 2018 - Whole Genome Sequencing used as diagnostic solution for TB
March 20, 2018 - Researchers show how two cancer genes work together to trigger leukemia
March 20, 2018 - Scientists discover basic molecular mechanism that helps understand how ALS works
March 20, 2018 - Multi-center study to evaluate promising new intervention for upper limb dysfunction after SCI
March 20, 2018 - Researchers develop technology to program DNA for delivering cancer drugs
March 20, 2018 - Northwestern scientists bring precision medicine to rheumatoid arthritis
March 20, 2018 - Research suggests possible link between heading a soccer ball and brain imbalance
March 20, 2018 - Robocall increases diabetic retinopathy screening rates among poor minorities
March 20, 2018 - INSYS Therapeutics Initiates Phase 3 Clinical Trial of Cannabidiol (CBD) Oral Solution for Treatment of Infantile Spasms
March 20, 2018 - Little Talk Between Docs and Patients Pre-PSA Screen
March 20, 2018 - Women GPs bring remote care to rural Pakistan
March 20, 2018 - Adults skipping vaccines may miss out on effective new shingles shot
March 20, 2018 - Suppressing emotions appears to reduce negative memories
March 20, 2018 - Epidural stimulation can safely, effectively normalize blood pressure in patients with SCI
March 20, 2018 - ‘Fast track’ project shows promising results in cancer whole genome analyses
March 20, 2018 - Advanced insulin pump system can also manage type 1 diabetes in children, study shows
March 20, 2018 - Flu risk less on flights if in a window seat finds study
March 20, 2018 - Sarepta Therapeutics Announces Plan to Submit a New Drug Application (NDA) for Accelerated Approval of Golodirsen (SRP-4053) in Patients with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) Amenable to Skipping Exon 53
March 20, 2018 - Post-Transplant Fatty Liver Disease on the Rise
March 20, 2018 - New mutation linked to ovarian cancer can be passed down through dad
March 20, 2018 - Alex’s experiences of living with rare genetic disease
Researchers propose different approach to beat antibiotic-resistant superbugs

Researchers propose different approach to beat antibiotic-resistant superbugs

image_pdfDownload PDFimage_print

Got a sore throat? The doctor may write a quick prescription for penicillin or amoxicillin, and with the stroke of a pen help diminish public health and your own future health by helping bacteria evolve resistance to antibiotics.

It’s time to develop alternatives to antibiotics for small infections, according to a new thought paper by scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology, and to do so quickly. It has been widely reported that bacteria will evolve to render antibiotics mostly ineffective by mid-century, and current strategies to make up for the projected shortfalls haven’t worked.

One possible problem is that drug development strategies have focused on replacing antibiotics in extreme infections, such as sepsis, where every minute without an effective drug increases the risk of death. But the evolutionary process that brings forth antibiotic resistance doesn’t happen nearly as often in those big infections as it does in the multitude of small ones like sinusitis, tonsillitis, bronchitis, and bladder infections, the Georgia Tech researchers said.

“Antibiotic prescriptions against those smaller ailments account for about 90 percent of antibiotic use, and so are likely to be the major driver of resistance evolution,” said Sam Brown, an associate professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Biological Sciences. Bacteria that survive these many small battles against antibiotics grow in strength and numbers to become formidable armies in big infections, like those that strike after surgery.

“It might make more sense to give antibiotics less often and preserve their effectiveness for when they’re really needed. And develop alternate treatments for the small infections,” Brown said.

Brown, who specializes in the evolution of microbes and in bacterial virulence, and first author Kristofer Wollein Waldetoft, a medical doctor and postdoctoral research assistant in Brown’s lab, published an essay detailing their suggestion for refocusing the development of bacteria-fighting drugs on December 28, 2017, in the journal PLOS Biology.

Duplicitous antibiotics

The evolution of antibiotic resistance can be downright two-faced.

“If you or your kid go to the doctor with an upper respiratory infection, you often get amoxicillin, which is a relatively broad-spectrum antibiotic,” Brown said. “So, it kills not only strep but also a lot of other bacteria, including in places like the digestive tract, and that has quite broad impacts.”

E. coli is widespread in the human gut, and some strains secrete enzymes that thwart antibiotics, while other strains don’t. A broad-spectrum antibiotic can kill off more of the vulnerable, less dangerous bacteria, leaving the more dangerous and robust bacteria to propagate.

“You take an antibiotic to go after that thing in your throat, and you end up with gut bacteria that are super-resistant,” Brown said. “Then later, if you have to have surgery, you have a problem. Or you give that resistant E. coli to an elderly relative.”

Much too often, superbugs have made their way into hospitals in someone’s intestines, where they had evolved high resistance through years of occasional treatment with antibiotics for small infections. Then those bacteria have infected patients with weak immune systems.

Furious infections have ensued, essentially invulnerable to antibiotics, followed by sepsis and death.

Alternatives get an “F”

Drug developers facing dwindling antibiotic effectiveness against evolved bacteria have looked for multiple alternate treatments. The focus has often been to find some new class of drug that works as well as or better than antibiotics, but so far, nothing has, Brown said.

Wollein Waldetoft came across a research paper in the medical journal Lancet Infectious Diseases that examined study after study on such alternate treatments against big, deadly infections.

“It was a kind of scorecard, and it was almost uniformly negative,” Brown said. “These alternate therapies, such as phage or anti-virulence drugs or, bacteriocins — you name it — just didn’t rise to the same bar of efficacy that existing antibiotics did.”

“It was a type of doom and gloom paper that said once the antibiotics are gone, we’re in trouble,” Brown said. “Drug companies still are investing in alternate drug research, because it has gotten very, very hard to develop new effective antibiotics. We don’t have a lot of other options.”

But the focus on new treatments for extreme infections has bothered the researchers because the main arena where the vast portion of resistance evolution occurs is in small infections. “We felt like there was a disconnect going on here,” Brown said.

Don’t kill strep, beat it

The researchers proposed a different approach: “Take the easier tasks, like sore throats, off of antibiotics and reserve antibiotics for these really serious conditions.”

Developing non-antibiotic therapies for strep throat, bladder infections, and bronchitis could prove easier, thus encouraging pharmaceutical investment and research.

For example, one particular kind of strep bacteria, group A streptococci, is responsible for the vast majority of bacterial upper respiratory infections. People often carry it without it breaking out.

Strep bacteria secrete compounds that promote inflammation and bacterial spread. If an anti-virulence drug could fight the secretions, the drug could knock back the strep into being present but not sickening.

Brown cautioned that strep infection can lead to rheumatic heart disease, a deadly condition that is very rare in the industrialized world, but it still takes a toll in other parts of the world. “A less powerful drug can be good enough if you don’t have serious strep throat issues in your medical history,” he said.

Sometimes, all it takes is some push-back against virulent bacteria until the body’s immune system can take care of it. Developing a spray-on treatment with bacteriophages, viruses that attack bacteria, might possibly do the trick.

If doctors had enough alternatives to antibiotics for the multitude of small infections they treat, they could help preserve antibiotic effectiveness longer for the far less common but much more deadly infections, for which they’re most needed.


Tagged with:

About author

Related Articles