Weekly News Roundup 6-14-13
Researchers from Penn State University have discovered a new antibiotic class that could be used to treat drug resistant tuberculosis, anthrax, and food poisoning. The antibiotic targets the process called "trans-translation" helps bacteria to keep protein synthesis moving by removing faulty messenger RNA. By using a pharmaceutical chemical to use this system to gum up the works in bacterial production, tough-to-treat bacteria can be killed easily. The process does not exist in plants, animals, or humans, so a specifically-targeted chemical would not have significant effects on a person's cells.
Further testing of the chemicals in infectious bacteria, such as Shigella, which is a large source of food-borne illness, and Bacillus anthracis, or anthrax, showed that only one molecule called KKL-35 was able to block the growth of distantly-related bacteria, making it "broad-spectrum." The tests showed that KKL-35 specifically blocked the trans-translation process. The research team then investigated the potency of the drug on the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is becoming drug resistant in many countries around the globe. The drug was more than 100-fold better at blocking bacterial growth than the currently used treatments. PNAS
Researchers at Albert Einstein Medical College have conducted experiments suggesting that Vitamin C can be used to treat drug resistant tuberculosis. Vitamin C, a compound known to drive the Fenton reaction, sterilizes cultures of drug-susceptible and drug-resistantMycobacterium tuberculosis, the causative agent of tuberculosis. While M. tuberculosis is highly susceptible to killing by vitamin C, other Gram-positive and Gram-negative pathogens are not. The bactericidal activity of vitamin C against M. tuberculosis is dependent on high ferrous ion levels and reactive oxygen species production, and causes a pleiotropic effect affecting several biological processes. Nature Communications
NIH is funding the development of a clinical research network on antibacterial resistance. Duke University, Durham, N.C., has been awarded $2 million to initiate a new clinical research network focused on antibacterial resistance. Total funding for the leadership group cooperative agreement award could reach up to $62 million through 2019. Funding is provided by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.
Co-led by principal investigators Vance Fowler, M.D., of Duke University, and Henry Chambers, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco, the leadership group will design, implement and manage the network's clinical research agenda. In addition to the two principal investigators, the leadership group will include a consortium of more than 20 investigators nationwide with experience in diverse areas related to antibacterial resistance. The scientific efforts the leadership group is expected to undertake include:
- Conducting early-stage clinical evaluation of new antibacterial drugs
- Performing clinical trials to optimize currently licensed antibacterial drugs to reduce the risk of resistance
- Testing diagnostics
- Examining best practices in infection control programs to prevent the development and spread of resistant infections. Eurekalert
A new study published online Wednesday by the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrates the effectiveness of using antimicrobial soap and ointment on all intensive-care unit (ICU) patients to reduce the burden of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and decrease bloodstream infections. The Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America (SHEA) says it is encouraged by the findings and hopes the study will help inform and advance evidence-based infection prevention practices and policies. ICT
Representative Jim Matheson (D-UT) recently reintroduced the Strategies to Address Antimicrobial Resistance (STAAR) Act to provide urgently needed federal leadership to tackle growing antibacterial resistance.
the STAAR Act provides direction and authority for the federal government to combat antimicrobial resistance by:
- Reauthorizing the Antimicrobial Resistance Task Force, establishing an Advisory Board of outside experts and an Antimicrobial Resistance Office in the Department of Health and Human Services whose director will coordinate government efforts to combat antimicrobial resistance;
- Building upon existing National Institutes of Health (NIH) efforts by creating an antimicrobial resistance strategic research plan and authorizing the Clinical Trials Network on Antibacterial Resistance;
- Building upon CDC’s programs by authorizing the Antimicrobial Resistance Surveillance and Laboratory Network and additional efforts to enhance the national capacity to prevent the transmission of resistant infections and the development of resistance;
- Expanding current efforts to collect antimicrobial resistance and use data;
- Developing and testing quality measures on antimicrobial use. ISDA
In March, 2013, a novel influenza A subtype H7N9 virus (A/H7N9) was detected in patients with severe respiratory disease in eastern China. Virological factors associated with a poor clinical outcome for this virus remain unclear.
The researchers said treating patients quickly with oseltamivir (Tamiflu, Roche) — within 2 days of disease onset — effectively reduced their viral load, but a mutation appeared in two patients, and that mutation helped lead to a viral rebound. Viral load was investigated sequentially in patients’ throat, stool, serum and urine specimens. Lancet
Researchers at The Wistar Institute describe how they increase the effectiveness of anti-melanoma drugs by combining anticancer therapies with diabetes drugs. Their studies, conducted in cell and animal models of melanoma, demonstrate that the combined therapy could destroy a subset of drug-resistant cells within a tumor.
"We have found that the individual cells within melanoma tumors are not all identical, and tumors contain a sub-population of cells that are inherently drug resistant, which accounts for the fact that advanced melanoma tumors return no matter how much the tumor is depleted," said Meenhard Herlyn, D.V.M., D.Sc., professor and director of Wistar's Melanoma Research Center. "We found that these slow-growing, drug-resistant cells are marked by a high rate of metabolism, which makes them susceptible to diabetes therapeutics."
"Our findings suggest a simple strategy to kill metastatic melanoma -- regardless of cell type within the tumor -- by combining anticancer drugs with diabetes drug," Herlyn said. "The diabetes drug puts the brakes on the cells that would otherwise repopulate the tumor, thus allowing the anticancer drug to be more effective." Cancer Cell
American Academy of Microbiology Publishes Report "Moving Targets: Fighting the Evolution of Resistance in Infections, Pests, and Cancer"
This week the American Academy of Microbiology (AAM) published the proceedings of a colloquium held in July 2012 titled “Moving Targets: Fighting the Evolution of Resistance in Infections, Pests, and Cancer”. The Colloquium, chaired by IDR Director Dr. Margaret Riley, and including the participation of IDR Director Celia Schiffer, focused on identifying the common evolutionary mechanisms driving resistance evolution across diverse biological systems, how treatment design and delivery can help avoid or minimize resistance, and effective practices of resistance management. The Colloquium included specialists in antibiotic, antiviral, fungicide, herbicide, and insecticide resistance as well as cancer biologists, biochemists, and theoretical biologists, each of whom deals with Historically the reports of the AAM have been influential with legislators and regulators and receive broad distribution. You can download a copy of this important publication here.