Invest in ME Conference 12: First Class in Every Way
OverTheHills wraps up our series of articles on this year's 12th Invest in ME International Conference (IIMEC12) in London with some reflections on her experience as a patient attending the conference for the first time.
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Antibiotics: US discovery labelled 'game-changer' for medicine

Discussion in 'Other Health News and Research' started by Simon, Jan 7, 2015.

  1. Simon

    Simon

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    Looks very promising, both for a specific new potential 'highly-resistant' antibiotic, as well as a method of finding many more antibiotics

    BBC News - Antibiotics: US discovery labelled 'game-changer' for medicine
    This is pretty-impressive

    First, the researchers focused on soil bacteria, source of most of our current antibiotics. The problem is that only around 1% of soil bugs will grow in the lab, so they came up with the brilliant solution of...
    ... burying bacteria (attached to a chip) in the soil, in the back yard of a researcher in Boston. Ta da! almost half of them grew.

    Then they screeend the growing bacteria to see if they were producig antibiotics (a favoured weapon against other bacteria). The found 25, of which one, teixobactin, looks highly promising and has cleared an MSRA infection in mice. Human tests await, but this is exciting as there hasn't been a new antibiotic for clinics since 1987.

    Even better, it looks like it will be hard for other bacteria to evade teixobactin:
    So this antibiotic might last longer than others.

    Perhaps even more important is this is just the start of a hunt for antibiotics in soil bacteria, using a new technique, with potentially many more antibiotics to come.

    But the article includes this warning from the BBC's science editor, James Gallagher:
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2015
  2. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Excellent... I don't need to start worrying about antibiotic resistance.

    Although I guess that if this is more effective than other antibiotics, maybe that will cause people problems as well?
     
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  3. Simon

    Simon

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    Not quite out of the woods yet so feel free to worry some more....

    No human trials yet, but no reason in principle why it should be more problematic for people. Bacteria are procaryotes with very different biochemistry to us (eucaryotes) in many cases. I haven't checked but suspect the bacterial fats targeted by this antibio are different from human fats.
     
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  4. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    I've been totally ignoring the fears so far... I wondered if some part of the media stories on this may have been influenced by a desire from pharmaceutical companies to get more favourable terms.

    Aren't some bacteria helpful for us - so a more effective antibiotic could lead to more side effects? (I tend to avoid reading things on stuff like this, but my stomach has only been gradually improving after a course of antibiotics a couple of years back.)
     
  5. Simon

    Simon

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    Not a case of Big Bad Pharma in this case - some very serious, independent scientists have been shouting about this for a long time, for good reason. Before antibiotics, people died of all kinds of 'minor' infections and fatality rates after surgery were horrendous. People are already dying from TB in particular that would have been much more treatable in the past. If anything, there has been way too little worrying about this going on.

    That's a very good point! A lot of innocent bacteria might die. Which will probably cause us a lot of problems, though nothing a faecal transplant shouldn't sort out. :)
     
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  6. Bob

    Bob

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    My understanding is that side-effects can depend on the class of antibiotic rather than the effectiveness or strength of the antibiotic.
    Broad spectrum antibiotics tend to kill off all of our stomach bacteria, and that can cause problems.
    Whereas other antibiotics are more targeted to specific classes of bacteria, and do less damage to the gut population.
    That's my very basic understanding, anyway.
    I haven't read the article yet, so I don't know what category these new types of drugs would fall into.
     
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  7. Esther12

    Esther12 Senior Member

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    Using soil to grow soil bacteria might just be the breakthrough we need though!

    With a lot of these things it does that when things are about to go bad suddenly you have people try new things in a useful way. It can be dangerous to rely on that with big problems, but it does often mean that reasonable predictions of trouble end up being overcome in surprising ways.

    (Possibly this is just an excuse for a head in the sand approach to life... or, more positively, just not worrying about stuff one's not going to be able to help with).
     
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