'Resuscitating' antibiotics to overcome drug resistance

March 28, 2012

Combining common antibiotics with additional compounds could make previously resistant bacteria more susceptible to the same antibiotics. 'Resuscitation' of existing antibiotics has the potential to make infections caused by multidrug-resistant bacteria easier to control, reducing antibiotic usage and levels of antimicrobial resistance, say scientists presenting their work at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring Conference in Dublin this week.

Researchers from University College Dublin (UCD) studied a variety of bacteria that are frequently associated with hospital-acquired infections, including , Klebsiella, Enterobacter and . Bacterial samples were collected from and from these, that showed resistance to a commonly prescribed antibiotic – ciprofloxacin - were selected for study.

The team tested ciprofloxacin in combination with one of five different 'adjuvant' compounds against these bacteria, to determine which combinations, if any, were more effective than treatment with ciprofloxacin alone. Results showed that all five adjuvant compounds increased the efficacy of ciprofloxacin; making it more active against the bacteria by up to six-fold. .

Dr Marta Martins, from the UCD School of Public Health, Physiotherapy and Population Science, who is leading the study explained why this adjuvant therapy approach is so important. "Antimicrobial resistance is a growing problem that is threatening to make many infections impossible to treat. There are very few new antibacterial drugs coming onto the market so it is vital that we find ways to extend the use of existing as much as possible," she said. "Adjuvant therapy essentially means that antibiotics that are currently ineffective can be 'resuscitated' to treat infections that previously would have been considered resistant."

The team believes that adjuvant therapy could revolutionize the way that antibiotics are used nowadays. "Hopefully this work will allow antibiotics to be incorporated into treatment regimes and administered in more effective ways," said Dr Martins. "As well as extending the lifespan of current antibiotics, this approach could ultimately reduce levels of antimicrobial resistance in hospitals as well as in the community, allowing hard-to-treat bacterial infections to be successfully controlled," she said.

Explore further: Honey can reverse antibiotic resistance

Related Stories

Honey can reverse antibiotic resistance

April 13, 2011
Manuka honey could be an efficient way to clear chronically infected wounds and could even help reverse bacterial resistance to antibiotics, according to research presented at the Society for General Microbiology's Spring ...

Resistant food bacteria strains now common: EU study

March 14, 2012
Bacteria that cause the main food-borne infections among people in the European Union commonly show resistance to widely-used antibiotics and antimicrobials, an EU report showed Wednesday.

Recommended for you

Cholesterol-lowering drugs may fight infectious disease

August 21, 2017
That statin you've been taking to lower your risk of heart attack or stroke may one day pull double duty, providing protection against a whole host of infectious diseases, including typhoid fever, chlamydia, and malaria.

Data revealed under FOI shows benefits of multiple sclerosis drug currently blocked by regulators

August 17, 2017
A drug that is blocked by the EU regulatory system has now been found to improve the quality of life of people with multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a study by Queen Mary University of London (QMUL).

Opioids overused in migraine treatment, regardless of race, study finds

August 17, 2017
African-Americans are more likely to experience debilitating migraine headaches than whites, but a new study probing the issue found no evidence of racial disparities in treatment practices.

Finding better ways to reduce serious drug side effects

August 14, 2017
Many of the medicines we depend on to treat disease—and even to save our lives—pose potentially serious risks along with their benefits. Data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate that about ...

Ultrasound-triggered liposomes for on-demand, local anesthesia

August 10, 2017
Researchers at Boston Children's Hospital have found a new way to non-invasively relieve pain at local sites in the body; such systems could one day improve pain management by replacing addictive opioids and short-lasting ...

Independent pharmacies and online coupons help patients save money on drugs

August 8, 2017
Uninsured patients or those with limited prescription drug coverage can save significant money by buying their drugs at independent pharmacies instead of big box, grocery or chain drug stores and by using discount coupons, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.