Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Making Antibiotics More Effective

Making Antibiotics More Effective

Boost to Antibiotics Effectiveness

Source: scenta

Washington, Jan. 29 (ANI): Health experts say that a new approach based on bacteriophages may reduce the requirement of antibiotics while treating various diseases by up to 50 per cent.

It is possible because of the ability of certain bacteriophages to boost the effectiveness of antibiotics gentamicin, gramacidin or tetracycline, says Steven Hagens, previously at the University of Vienna.

He told Chemistry and Industry, the magazine of the SCI, that phages' have the ability to channel through bacterial cell membranes that boosts antibiotic effectiveness.

Hagen explained the working of phages with an example of 'pseudomonas bacteria, known for causing pneumonia and hospital-acquired infections.

These bacteria are particularly multi-resistant to antibiotics because they have efflux pump mechanisms that enable them to throw out antibiotics, but Hagen said that a pore in the cell wall could cancel the efflux effect.

Experiments in mice revealed that 75 per cent of those infected with a lethal dose of Pseudomonas survived if the antibiotic gentamicin was administered in the presence of bacteriophages, while none survived without the phages.

Hagen said that the bacteriophage approach would particularly be useful for treating cases of food poisoning, as the lower doses of antibiotic needed would not disrupt the friendly bacteria in the gut.Jim Spencer, a lecturer in microbial pathogenesis at the University of Bristol, welcomed the new approach, as the overuse of antibiotics since the 1940s had slowly created a host of infections that are resistant to antibiotics. '

The prospect of using such treatments to prolong the life of existing agents and delay the onset of widespread resistance is to be welcomed,' said Spencer. (ANI)