Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Novel use of drug saves children from deadly E. coli bacteria disease

Date:
December 20, 2011
Source:
Université de Montréal
Summary:
A physician saved the life of a child and, by doing so, became the first to find a new use for a drug in the fight against deadly E. coli bacteria. In fact, after a little girl was admitted to hospital to treat severe complications, her physician, running out of options, thought about using the drug eculizumab, which is usually prescribed for another disorder with similar symptoms. Her intuition paid off and the little girl survived. The dramatic improvement experienced by the young patient and two others is explained in a new article.

A physician and researcher at the Sainte Justine University Hospital Center (Sainte-Justine UHC), a University of Montreal affiliate, saved the life of a child and, by doing so, became the first to find a new use for a drug in the fight against deadly E. coli bacteria. In fact, after a little girl was admitted to the Sainte Justine UHC to treat severe complications, her physician, running out of options, thought about using the drug eculizumab, which is usually prescribed for another disorder with similar symptoms. Her intuition paid off and the little girl survived.

Related Articles


The dramatic improvement experienced by the young patient and two others is explained in an article published last summer in the New England Journal of Medicine.

"At the time, there was no recognized treatment to cure the hemolytic and uremic syndrome, a severe complications associated with E. coli infections," says Dr. Anne-Laure Lapeyraque, a nephrologist in the Department of Pediatrics at the Sainte Justine UHC as well as a professor at the University of Montreal. "Successful use of this medication in these children has opened our eyes to a promising new treatment."

Dr. Anne-Laure Lapeyraque and her international colleagues relate how eculizumab was used to treat three 3-year-olds with E. coli-related neurological complications. Within a few days to weeks, their blood counts returned to normal and their kidneys recovered. Eculizumab, a drug known as a monoclonal antibody, acts by blocking a substance in the immune system known as complement protein C5.

Once this new drug application had been discovered, intravenous eculizumab therapy was used to save the lives of a large number of people. "Our report was published during the massive E. coli outbreak in May and June in Germany, which allowed us to break the news and alert physicians," explains Dr. Lapeyraque. During the outbreak, about 4,000 people in Europe fell ill by eating contaminated sprouts.

E. coli infection with a Shiga toxin-producing strain ("hamburger disease") has been the subject of several recalls of contaminated beef in Canada and the United States over the past few years. E. coli can be found in undercooked ground beef, unpasteurized (raw) dairy products and contaminated fruits and vegetables, particularly alfalfa sprouts. Symptoms include cramps and vomiting, with or without bloody diarrhea, and can lead to kidney failure and be life threatening. This is why it is important to cook hamburger meat thoroughly, wash fruits and vegetables, avoid unpasteurized dairy products, especially for children, and wash one's hands after handling raw meat. According to Dr. Lapeyraque, these precautions have greatly reduced the incidence of E. coli infection in Quebec.

The investigators on this international clinical team are very excited about their discovery. For one thing, it helps explain how and why hamburger disease can develop with such devastating consequences. "Further research studies are needed to determine which patients will benefit from it the most," adds Dr. Lapeyraque. In any event, "eculizumab" is now a hot buzzword at kidney disease meetings around the world.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Université de Montréal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anne-Laure Lapeyraque, Michal Malina, Véronique Fremeaux-Bacchi, Tobias Boppel, Michael Kirschfink, Mehdi Oualha, François Proulx, Marie-José Clermont, Françoise Le Deist, Patrick Niaudet, Franz Schaefer. Eculizumab in Severe Shiga-Toxin–Associated HUS. New England Journal of Medicine, 2011; 364 (26): 2561 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMc1100859

Cite This Page:

Université de Montréal. "Novel use of drug saves children from deadly E. coli bacteria disease." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219203526.htm>.
Université de Montréal. (2011, December 20). Novel use of drug saves children from deadly E. coli bacteria disease. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219203526.htm
Université de Montréal. "Novel use of drug saves children from deadly E. coli bacteria disease." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111219203526.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
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

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

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