RSS

The Bulletin

Finally: A solution for antibiotic resistance?

Posting in Healthcare

Have you ever heard someone complain about going to the doctor, where "they didn't even give me anything?"

In today's society, prompted by pharmaceutical firms and the attitude that many small problems can be cured by pill popping, we ourselves have created drug-resistant strains of bacteria that are now far more difficult to treat. Instead of relying on our own body's defences, the overuse of drugs over generations has become the catalyst for many medical problems -- from the common cold to tuberculosis -- emerging in stronger forms.

However, a new compound which can bring drug-resistant bacteria back to a primitive, susceptible state has been patented -- which could spell breakthroughs in the treatment of illness.

Jørn Bolstad Christensen and colleagues from the University of Copenhagen are the creators of the substance, which can make previously multidrug-resistant bacteria once again responsive to antibiotics.

The main reason for the compound's development is tuberculosis. TB, which typically attacks the lungs, has returned in a state resistant to the majority of modern-day antibiotics. Although the condition is not an immediate threat, the researchers say that "resistant strains of the bacteria are nearing the [industialized world's] borders."

When bacteria develops resistance to antibiotics, the latter is usually shed before damage can be done to bacteria through what scientists call an efflux pump. Christensen's solution is the isolation of a substance able to block the efflux pump so that an antibiotic remains in bacteria until the bacteria dies.

Christensen said:

“You could say that we cure bacteria of their resistance, and slay them with antibiotics. We now have a substance that is able to block the bacteria’s efflux pump. At very most, recipients of the medication may become slightly sluggish. This is also because very small doses are needed to affect the bacteria."

The team discovered that Thioridazin, an antipsychotic drug, was able to kill bacteria without harmful side effects. Through experimentation, a new, milder substance was developed that both blocks bacterial efflux pumps and does not harm the patient.

The developers are hoping that investors will pave the way for the substance to reach the market, and in particular, poor countries with drug-resistance problems could benefit.

Via: Science Daily

— By on February 20, 2014, 5:58 AM PST

Charlie Osborne

Contributing Editor

Charlie Osborne is a freelance journalist and photographer based in London. In addition to SmartPlanet, she also writes for business technology website ZDNet and consumer technology site CNET. She holds a degree in medical anthropology from the University of Kent. Follow her on Twitter. Disclosure