Drug-resistant bacteria can be controlled

Apr 05, 2007

U.S. medical scientists have discovered a technique that might allow them to control drug-resistant bacteria.

The Harvard Medical School researchers discovered certain combinations of antibiotics favor the growth of non-resistant strains at the expense of resistant ones. That finding might help combat the spread of such microbes, as well as shed light on microbial ecology and evolution.

Roy Kishony, an assistant professor of systems biology, and colleagues discovered that antagonistic drug combinations, in which the drugs' cumulative effects are less than when they are given separately, show such properties. At sub-lethal concentrations a mixture of doxycycline and ciprofloxacin preferentially selects for wild-type Escherichia coli bacteria over that of a doxycyline-resistant strain in a laboratory culture.

The finding, said Kishony, is surprising and counter-intuitive, since the use of antibiotic drugs is responsible for the generation and selection of resistant bacterial pathogen strains. But the study showed that with the right combinations and concentrations, non-resistant bacterial strains can be selected.

The research is detailed in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2007 by United Press International

Explore further: Serotonin neuron subtypes: New insights could inform SIDS understanding, depression treatment

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Thanks, fruit flies, for that pleasing beer scent

Oct 09, 2014

The familiar smell of beer is due in part to aroma compounds produced by common brewer's yeast. Now, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Cell Reports on October 9th have discovered why the ye ...

Battling superbugs with gene-editing system

Sep 21, 2014

In recent years, new strains of bacteria have emerged that resist even the most powerful antibiotics. Each year, these superbugs, including drug-resistant forms of tuberculosis and staphylococcus, infect ...

Recommended for you

User comments : 0

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.