Study Discovers New Way to Increase Efficacy of Antibiotics

This research could help improve the efficacy of antibiotics without clinicians having to attempt risky strategies such as providing patients with higher doses or relying on the discovery of new types of antibiotics, according to the study authors.

Researchers at Monash University and Harvard University have found an alternative to make antibiotics more effective against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, or superbugs, through a multi-disciplinary project, according to a Monash press release.

This research could help improve the efficacy of antibiotics without clinicians having to attempt risky strategies such as providing patients with higher doses or relying on the discovery of new types of antibiotics, according to the study authors.

The team used chemoattractants to enable the recruitment of immune cells and improve their killing ability on an antibiotic.

“When looking at how our immune system can fight bacteria there are two important aspects we look at. The first is our ability to entrap bacterial cells and kill them. The second is the signals—the chemoattractants—calling for more neutrophils, white blood cells which lead the immune system's response to resolve infection,” said lead researcher Jennifer Payne, MD, in a press release.

Further, the team linked the chemoattractant known as formyl peptide to vancomycin, which is a commonly used antibiotic that binds to the surface of the bacteria and performed their analysis on golden staph infections, which is a more problematic antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

“We’ve been working on using dual-function antibiotic-chemoattractant ‘hybrids,’ which improve the recruitment of neutrophils and increase the engulfing and killing of the bacteria,” Payne said in the press release. “Microfluidics was ground-breaking for this research, as it allowed us to generate an infection-on-a-chip to monitor the recruitment of human immune cells, and observe in real-time how our immunotherapeutic enhances their ability to kill MRSA. Just like what would happen in our body.”

Future research of this topic is ongoing, with the potential of developing a preventative antibiotic strategy in the intensive care environment to protect those most vulnerable, according to the researchers.

REFERENCE

Researchers discover a way to increase the effectiveness of antibiotics. EurekAlert! October 25, 2021. Accessed October 25, 2021. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/932475