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Taming microbes to combat antibiotic resistance
Date:2/25/2014

LOS ANGELES (Feb. 25, 2014) With antibiotic resistant infections on the rise and a scarce pipeline of novel drugs to combat them, researchers at the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) are pursuing entirely new approaches to meet the challenge of drug-resistant infections by taming microbes rather than killing them.

Michael Yeaman, PhD, an LA BioMed researcher, recently received an Innovation Award for $1.6 million from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to develop novel anti-infectives designed to disarm methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) and reduce its resistance to antibiotics.

"Real-time adaptations in microbes that drive antibiotic treatment failures are known but have been poorly understood," Dr. Yeaman said. "Our approach interferes with the adaptations MRSA uses to survive in the body. Enhancing the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and minimizing resistance by dangerous microbes like MRSA are public health priorities directly addressed by our research."

Dangerous microbes that have survived traditional antibiotics now threaten to cause untreatable infections.

"Antibiotic resistance is a predictable result of microbial survival instincts in the face of drugs that are designed to kill them," Dr. Yeaman said. "New variations on old antibiotics may work in the short term, but inevitably microbes, such as MRSA, adapt to resist even the newest forms of conventional drugs. By fundamentally changing our approach, we are exploring totally new ways to tame the microbes and slow their resistance."

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that more than 2 million Americans suffer from antibiotic resistant infections per year. More than 20,000 die from drug-resistant infections annually, and countless more undergo costly and prolonged hospital stays and exposure to inef
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Contact: Laura Mecoy
lmecoy@labiomed.org
310-546-5860
Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed)
Source:Eurekalert

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