Wednesday October 23, 2019

8,000 New Combinations Identified to Slow Down Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

The drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people

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Antibiotic
Health organisations across the world are trying to reduce the use of antibiotics. Pixabay

Biologists have identified over 8,000 new combinations of antibiotics that are surprisingly more effective at killing harmful bacteria than the prevailing ones.

Scientists have traditionally believed that combining more than two drugs to fight harmful bacteria would yield diminishing returns.

The prevailing theory is that the incremental benefits of combining three or more drugs would be too small to matter, or that the interactions among the drugs would cause their benefits to cancel one another out.

However, the study discovered over 8,000 combinations of four and five existing medications that are effective, a finding that could be a major step toward protecting public health at a time when pathogens and common infections are increasingly becoming resistant to antibiotics, the researchers said.

“I was blown away by how many effective combinations there are as we increased the number of drugs,” said Van Savage, the Professor at the University of California – Los Angeles (UCLA).

“People may think they know how drug combinations will interact, but they really don’t.”

For the study, reported in the journal npj Systems Biology and Applications, the team looked at eight common antibiotics and analysed how every possible four to five drug combination, including with varying dosages, worked against E-coli.

Bacteria
Bacteria, Pixabay

The combinations were effective because individual medications have different means of targeting E. coli.

“Some drugs attack the cell walls, others attack the DNA inside,” Savage said. “It’s like attacking a castle or fortress. Combining different methods of attacking may be more effective than just a single approach.”

“There is a tradition of using just one drug, maybe two,” said Pamela Yeh, Assistant Professor at the UCLA.

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“We’re offering an alternative that looks very promising. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to just single drugs or two-drug combinations in our medical toolbox.

“We expect several of these combinations, or more, will work much better than existing antibiotics,” Yeh added.

However, Yeh noted that although the results are very promising, the drug combinations have been tested in only a laboratory setting and are at least years away from being evaluated as possible treatments for people. (IANS)

Next Story

Here’s How Gut Bacteria Absorbs Fat Leading to Weight Gain

A team of US researchers have found a molecule that helps synchronize the absorption of nutrients in the gut with the rhythms of the Earth's day-night light cycle

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health, weight gain, gut, bacteria
Those cells act as intermediaries between bacteria that aid in digestion of food and proteins that enable absorption of nutrients. Pixabay

A team of US researchers have found a molecule that helps synchronize the absorption of nutrients in the gut with the rhythms of the Earth’s day-night light cycle — a discovery that has far-ranging implications for obesity in affluent countries and malnutrition in impoverished countries.

Dr Lora Hooper and her research team at UT Southwestern found that the good bacteria that live in the guts of mammals programme the metabolic rhythms that govern the body’s absorption of dietary fat.

The team also found that microbes programme these so-called circadian rhythms by activating a protein named “histone deacetylase 3” (HDAC3), which is made by cells that line the gut.

Those cells act as intermediaries between bacteria that aid in digestion of food and proteins that enable absorption of nutrients.

The microbiome actually communicates with our metabolic machinery to make fat absorption more efficient.

“But when fat is overabundant, this communication can result in obesity. Whether the same thing is going on in other mammals, including humans, is the subject of future studies,” said lead author Dr Zheng Kuang, a postdoctoral fellow in the Hooper’s laboratory in the study published in the journal Science.

The study, done in mice, revealed that HDAC3 turns on genes involved in the absorption of fat.

They found that HDAC3 interacts with the biological clock machinery within the gut to refine the rhythmic ebb and flow of proteins that enhance absorption of fat.

health, weight gain, gut, bacteria
the good bacteria that live in the guts of mammals programme the metabolic rhythms that govern the body’s absorption of dietary fat. Pixabay

This regulation occurs in the daytime in humans, who eat during the day, and at night in mice, which eat at night.

“Our results suggest that the microbiome and the circadian clock have evolved to work together to regulate metabolism,” said Hooper.

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Disrupting the interactions between the microbiota and the body’s clock could make us more likely to become obese.

“These disruptions happen frequently in modern life when we take antibiotics, work overnight shifts, or travel internationally. But we think that our findings might eventually lead to new treatments for obesity – and possibly malnutrition – by altering the bacteria in our guts,” the researchers mentioned. (IANS)