'Cycling' antibiotics might help combat resistance - NewsChannel5.com | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

'Cycling' antibiotics might help combat resistance

Updated: Sep 26, 2013 09:22 AM
© iStockphoto.com / Khuong Hoang © iStockphoto.com / Khuong Hoang

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Doctors might be able to overcome antibiotic-resistant bacteria by swapping out the antibiotics used to treat a patient, providing a "one-two" punch that keeps the germs reeling, a new Danish study suggests.

The strategy relies on a concept called "collateral sensitivity," in which bacteria that become resistant to one antibiotic also become more vulnerable to other antibiotics.

The researchers argue that by swapping between antibiotics that play well off each other, doctors can stay one step ahead of bacteria and continuously avoid resistance.

"You cycle between drugs that have reciprocal sensitivities," explained study co-author Morten Sommer, a lead researcher with the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Biosustainability at the Technical University of Denmark.

"If you become resistant to drug A, you will become more sensitive to drug B. That way, you can cycle between drug A and drug B without increasing resistance in the long term," he added.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently declared antibiotic-resistant bacteria one of America's most serious health threats, estimating that more than 2 million people are sickened and at least 23,000 die every year due to antibiotic-resistant infections. Doctors are finding it increasingly hard to fight some infections because many antibiotics have become useless against bacteria that have developed resistance to the drugs.

The new study was published Sept. 25 in the journal Science Translational Medicine .

The concept of collateral sensitivity has been around since the 1950s, but never received much attention, Sommer said.

"I think basically it was discovered during the golden age of antibiotic development," he said. "There were new drugs coming onto the market all the time, and there wasn't the need that there is today for a strategy to counter resistance."

To test the concept, Sommer and his research team exposed E. coli bacteria to 23 different commonly used antibiotics, allowing the germs to develop resistance. Then they tested how each of the now-resistant bacteria responded to other antibiotics.

The researchers found that most antibiotics on the market can be "paired" with another antibiotic. As resistance to the first drug increases, the bacteria become more vulnerable to the other drug. In other cases, antibiotics can be used in a sequential deployment of three or four different drugs.

As many as 200 already approved antibiotics could be used in this manner, with one medication playing off one or more others, Sommer said.

"The timing will depend on the resistance development that's occurring in the patient," he said. "A doctor will want to cycle the drug when patient improvement slows or stops."

This cycling strategy could be most helpful for patients suffering from long-term infectious diseases like tuberculosis or cystic fibrosis, Sommer suggested. "We think this treatment strategy will be primarily relevant when the patient is suffering a chronic infection," he said. "In those cases, the infection continues for a long time, which allows for resistance to build."

Collateral sensitivity cycling also could help increase the life span of many antibiotics, allowing them to remain useful tools for longer periods, the study authors added.

The researchers said their findings need further testing in animals and then in patient clinics.

This strategy likens bacteria to science fiction villains that automatically adapt to any weapon used against them, said Victoria Richards, associate professor of medical sciences at Quinnipiac University's Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine, in North Haven, Conn.

"Any antibiotic is a weapon against a bacteria," she said. "With this approach, they could break that cycle of bacteria trying to adapt to our weapons."

Richards said doctors and hospitals might want to consider implementing this sort of cycling strategy as soon as possible, as part of their overall plan to prevent resistance.

"It's not like these are experimental antibiotics," she said. "They are commonly used, and can be used in response to the bacteria responding to other antibiotics. It's trying to keep one step ahead of the bacteria, by looking in a different way at antibiotics that have been used for decades."

More information

For more on antibiotic resistance, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Copyright © 2013 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

  • Medical News HeadlinesMedical News HeadlinesMore>>

  • Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Hope For Lanie: Curing SMA

    Thursday, April 17 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-17 21:15:09 GMT
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure, but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms.more>>
    SMA attacks the body's motor neurons and causes paralysis. There is no cure for SMA but for the first time doctors are studying an experimental therapy that targets more than just symptoms, it targets mutated SMN genes, which are responsible for SMA.more>>
  • Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Washing Lungs & Breathing Better

    Wednesday, April 16 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-16 21:15:09 GMT
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
    Imagine not being able to breathe without struggling: every breath you take is work; every breath you take could be your last. That was the case for one man who became dependent on an oxygen tank to stay alive.more>>
  • Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Ocular Melanoma: Saving Lives, Saving Eyes

    Friday, April 11 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-11 21:15:07 GMT
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a rare type of melanoma that targets the eye. It can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
    Ocular melanoma, also called uveal melanoma, is a type of melanoma that targets the eye. It affects about 2,000 people a year in the United States. Although rare – it can be a deadly if it isn't spotted early enough. Now, there's a way to treat patients that's saving lives and saving eyes.more>>
  • Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Memory Palace: Coping With Chemo Brain

    Thursday, April 10 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-10 21:15:09 GMT
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
    More than 13 million Americans are living with some form of cancer. Harsh treatments like chemo and radiation save lives, but they will also change lives. Now, many cancer survivors are learning how to cope with chemo brain.more>>
  • Pedaling For A Cure

    Pedaling For A Cure

    Wednesday, April 9 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-09 21:15:09 GMT
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
    Five years ago, Leslie Trudeau's world came crashing down. At just 22 years old, her son Taylor lost his battle with leukemia. That's why Trudeau is pedaling for a cure.more>>
  • Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Bringing Hearts Back To Life: New Improved Defibrillator

    Tuesday, April 8 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-08 21:15:13 GMT
    CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Eric Robinson alive after he went into cardiac arrest. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
    A year ago, while jamming with his son's band, Eric Robinson went into cardiac arrest. CPR and a portable defibrillator helped keep Robinson alive. And now a newly FDA approved Biotronik implantable cardiac defibrillator, or ICD, constantly monitors his heart.more>>
  • Helping High Risk Hearts

    Helping High Risk Hearts

    Monday, April 7 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-07 21:15:09 GMT
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
    Ironing is not exactly Barbara Roy's favorite activity, but it's something she's glad she can do again. Her doctor diagnosed her with severe aortic stenosis.more>>
  • Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Hernias In Newborns: Lincoln's Story

    Friday, April 4 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-04 21:15:07 GMT
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
    Congenital diaphragmatic hernias occur in about one in every 2,000 births. They can be deadly, but now doctors are using a more aggressive treatment approach.more>>
  • Predicting Bad Hearts

    Predicting Bad Hearts

    Thursday, April 3 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-03 21:15:09 GMT
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner.more>>
    Every year, more than 700,000 Americans have a heart attack. And 600,000 die of heart disease. Now, researchers at Baylor Research Institute at Dallas have uncovered a biomarker that may help them spot the disease sooner; and they did it by pure accident.more>>
  • Giving Shannon A Voice Of Her Own

    Giving Shannon A Voice Of Her Own

    Wednesday, April 2 2014 5:15 PM EDT2014-04-02 21:15:05 GMT
    More than half a million children under age 15 has a severe communication disorder impairing their ability to speak or communicate with others. Now, advances in technology are giving them a voice—some for the first time.more>>
    More than half a million children under age 15 has a severe communication disorder impairing their ability to speak or communicate with others. Now, advances in technology are giving them a voice—some for the first time.more>>
*DISCLAIMER*: The information contained in or provided through this site section is intended for general consumer understanding and education only and is not intended to be and is not a substitute for professional advice. Use of this site section and any information contained on or provided through this site section is at your own risk and any information contained on or provided through this site section is provided on an "as is" basis without any representations or warranties.
Powered by WorldNow
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 NewsChannel 5 (WTVF-TV) and WorldNow. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.