Antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections are difficult to treat and cause more than a million annual deaths worldwide, especially in hospitalized patients with pneumonia, bloodstream infections, urinary tract infections, or abdominal infections. New research finds that rare antibiotic resistance mutations can rapidly expand within days in response to antibiotic treatment, and that real-time genomic surveillance could help physicians keep closer tabs on drug resistance -; allowing patients to receive better-matched, better-timed, more effective antibiotic treatment.
Gregory Priebe, MD, at Boston Children’s Hospital, Roy Kishony, PhD, of Technion–Israel Institute of Technology, and first author Hattie Chung, PhD, of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard developed the technology in collaboration with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research. Their work is reported today in Nature Communications.
"Clinicians often try a certain antibiotic for a defined time and then switch to a different antibiotic, but how switching therapies affects antibiotic resistance is unknown," says Priebe, who is part of the Department of Anesthesiology, Critical Care and Pain Medicine and the Division of Infectious Diseases at Boston Children’s and an associate member of the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard.
"Clinical trials have largely been conducted at the level of a unit or hospital, with mixed results," he notes. "Our results suggest that antibiotic cycling might be more effective at the level of individual patients. We are looking to use genomic surveillance to inform initial antibiotic therapy -; both the type of antibiotic and the timing -; and then to inform switches in antibiotic as the […]