Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New Viruses To Treat Bacterial Diseases: 'My Enemies' Enemy Is My Friend'

Date:
September 4, 2007
Source:
Society for General Microbiology
Summary:
Viruses found in the River Cam in Cambridge, famous as a haunt of students in their punts on long, lazy summer days, could become the next generation of antibiotics, according to scientists. With antibiotics now over-prescribed for treatments of bacterial infections, and patients failing to complete their courses of treatment properly, many bacteria are able to pick up an entire array of antibiotic resistance genes easily by swapping genetic material with each other. MRSA -- the multiple drug resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus -- and newly emerging strains of the superbug Clostridium difficile have forced medical researchers to realise that an entirely different approach is required to combat these bacteria.

Viruses found in the River Cam in Cambridge, famous as a haunt of students in their punts on long, lazy summer days, could become the next generation of antibiotics, according to scientists.

With antibiotics now over-prescribed for treatments of bacterial infections, and patients failing to complete their courses of treatment properly, many bacteria are able to pick up an entire array of antibiotic resistance genes easily by swapping genetic material with each other.

MRSA -- the multiple drug resistant strain of Staphylococcus aureus - and newly emerging strains of the superbug Clostridium difficile have forced medical researchers to realise that an entirely different approach is required to combat these bacteria.

"By using a virus that only attacks bacteria, called a phage -- and some phages only attack specific types of bacteria -- we can treat infections by targeting the exact strain of bacteria causing the disease", says Ana Toribio from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute in Hinxton, Cambridgeshire, UK. "This is much more targeted than conventional antibiotic therapy."

The scientists used a close relative of Escherichia coli, the bacterium that commonly causes food poisoning and gastrointestinal infections in humans, called Citrobacter rodentium, which has exactly the same gastrointestinal effects in mice. They were able to treat the infected mice with a cocktail of phages obtained from the River Cam that target C. rodentium. At present they are optimizing the selection of the viruses by DNA analysis to utilise phage with different profiles.

"Using phages rather than traditional broad-spectrum antibiotics, which essentially try to kill all bacteria they come across, is much better because they do not upset the normal microbial balance in the body", says Dr Derek Pickard from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute. "We all need good bacteria to help us fight off infections, to digest our food and provide us with essential nutrients, and conventional antibiotics can kill these too, while they are fighting the disease-causing bacteria."

Phage based treatment has been largely ignored until recently in Western Europe and the USA. The main human clinical reports have come from Eastern Europe, particularly the Tbilisi Bacteriophage Institute in Georgia where bacteriophages are used for successful treatment of infections such as diabetic ulcers and wounds. More studies are planned along western clinical trial lines with all the standards required.

"The more we can develop the treatment and understand the obstacles encountered in using this method to treat gut infections, the more likely we are to maximise its chance of success in the long term", says Ana Toribio. "We have found that using a variety of phages to treat one disease has many benefits over just using one phage type to attack a dangerous strain of bacteria, overcoming any potential resistance to the phage from bacterial mutations."

"This brings us back to the problem we are trying to address in the first place. If anything, conventional antibiotic treatment has led to MRSA and other superbug infections becoming not only more prevalent but also more infectious and dangerous. Bacteriophage therapy offers an alternative that needs to be taken seriously in Western Europe," says Derek Pickard.

Ms Toribio presented the poster 'Citrobacter rodentium phage: Characterization and screening for phage therapy applications' at 1520 on Monday 03 September 2007 in the Environmental Microbiology Group session of the 161st Meeting of the Society for General Microbiology at the University of Edinburgh, 03 - 06 September 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Society for General Microbiology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Society for General Microbiology. "New Viruses To Treat Bacterial Diseases: 'My Enemies' Enemy Is My Friend'." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 4 September 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070902193837.htm>.
Society for General Microbiology. (2007, September 4). New Viruses To Treat Bacterial Diseases: 'My Enemies' Enemy Is My Friend'. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070902193837.htm
Society for General Microbiology. "New Viruses To Treat Bacterial Diseases: 'My Enemies' Enemy Is My Friend'." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/09/070902193837.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Cadaver Dogs Aid Search for More Victims of Suspected Indiana Serial Killer

Reuters - US Online Video (Oct. 21, 2014) Police in Gary, Indiana are using cadaver dogs to search for more victims after a suspected serial killer confessed to killing at least seven women. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

White Lion Cubs Unveiled to the Public

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 21, 2014) Visitors to Belgrade zoo meet a pair of three-week-old lion cubs for the first time. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

'Cadaver Dog' Sniffs out Human Remains

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Where's a body buried? Buster's nose can often tell you. He's a cadaver dog, specially trained to find human remains and increasingly being used by law enforcement and accepted in courts. These dogs are helping solve even decades-old mysteries. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

White Lion Cubs Born in Belgrade Zoo

AFP (Oct. 20, 2014) Two white lion cubs, an extremely rare subspecies of the African lion, were recently born at Belgrade Zoo. They are being bottle fed by zoo keepers after they were rejected by their mother after birth. Duration: 00:42 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins