Nav: Home

Evolving insights into cystic fibrosis lung infections

March 04, 2016

Recent research progress into how bacteria adapt and evolve during chronic lung infections in cystic fibrosis patients could lead to better treatment strategies being developed, according to a new review by the University of Liverpool.

Cystic fibrosis (CF) is a life-shortening inherited disease, affecting over 10,000 people in the UK. Patients with CF often suffer from a build-up of mucus in the airways, which traps bacteria and makes them more susceptible to lung infections.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is usually harmless to healthy humans, but in people with CF it can cause infections that are resistant to antibiotics and become impossible to eradicate from the lungs.

Published in the journal Trends in Microbiology, in collaboration with the University of York, the review highlights how the advent of affordable high-throughput genome sequencing has allowed rapid progress in our understanding of how P. aeruginosa adapts and evolves in chronically infected CF patients.

Professor Craig Winstanley, from the University's Institute of Infection and Global Health, said: "Currently we know that populations of P. aeruginosa that infect CF lungs harbour huge amounts of diversity, including variation in antibiotic resistance and secretion of toxins. This diversity is dynamic over time, making accurate diagnosis and treatment challenging.

"Experimental work is now beginning to provide insights into what drives this evolution during infections, including the role of social interactions."

P.aeruginosa presents a particular challenge because of its ability to develop resistance to antibiotics rapidly over several generations.

Professor Winstanley, added: "Given the limited efficacy of current antibiotics, we now need to establish how this bacterial evolution and dynamic diversity affects patients, in order to design alternative treatment strategies.

"One potential area of future work is to see whether the evolutionary trajectory of P. aeruginosa in CF lung infections could be manipulated to minimise symptoms and improve patient outcomes."
-end-
The paper `Pseudomonas aeruginosa Evolutionary Adaptation and Diversification in Cystic Fibrosis Chronic Lung Infections' is published in Trends in Microbiology as part of a special themed issue on Microbial Endurance.

University of Liverpool

Related Antibiotics Articles:

Resistance can spread even without the use of antibiotics
Antibiotic resistance does not spread only where and when antibiotics are used in large quantities, ETH researchers conclude from laboratory experiments.
Selective antibiotics following nature's example
Chemists from Konstanz develop selective agents to combat infectious diseases -- based on the structures of natural products
Antibiotics can inhibit skin lymphoma
New research from the LEO Foundation Skin Immunology Research Center at the University of Copenhagen shows, surprisingly, that antibiotics inhibit cancer in the skin in patients with rare type of lymphoma.
Antibiotics may treat endometriosis
Researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis have found that treating mice with an antibiotic reduces the size of lesions caused by endometriosis.
How antibiotics help spread resistance
Bacteria can become insensitive to antibiotics by picking up resistance genes from the environment.
Overuse of antibiotics not what the doctor ordered
With increased use of antibiotics worldwide linked to growing antibiotic resistance, a world-first study co-authored by a QUT researcher has highlighted the growing impact of non-prescription supply of antibiotics in community pharmacies, and the urgent need for better enforcement of laws.
Bacterial armor could be a new target for antibiotics
Boosting efforts to fight antibiotic resistance, Stanford researchers have found that a thin membrane, thought to be just a shrink wrap around some bacterial cell walls, has structural properties critical for survival.
Combining antibiotics changes their effectiveness
The effectiveness of antibiotics can be altered by combining them with each other, non-antibiotic drugs or even with food additives.
Perception that antibiotics are harmless is widespread
A new study of decision-making about the use of antibiotics in medicine has found that the mistaken belief that antibiotics are harmless is widespread, especially among patients.
Complementing conventional antibiotics
Antimicrobial resistance (AMR) is a major medical problem worldwide, impacting both human health and economic well-being.
More Antibiotics News and Antibiotics Current Events

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Rethinking Anger
Anger is universal and complex: it can be quiet, festering, justified, vengeful, and destructive. This hour, TED speakers explore the many sides of anger, why we need it, and who's allowed to feel it. Guests include psychologists Ryan Martin and Russell Kolts, writer Soraya Chemaly, former talk radio host Lisa Fritsch, and business professor Dan Moshavi.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#538 Nobels and Astrophysics
This week we start with this year's physics Nobel Prize awarded to Jim Peebles, Michel Mayor, and Didier Queloz and finish with a discussion of the Nobel Prizes as a way to award and highlight important science. Are they still relevant? When science breakthroughs are built on the backs of hundreds -- and sometimes thousands -- of people's hard work, how do you pick just three to highlight? Join host Rachelle Saunders and astrophysicist, author, and science communicator Ethan Siegel for their chat about astrophysics and Nobel Prizes.