Nav: Home

UTI discovery may lead to new treatments

August 13, 2019

Sufferers of recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) could expect more effective treatments thanks to University of Queensland-led research.

UTIs are one of the most common bacterial infections according to Professor Mark Schembri from UQ's School of Chemistry and Molecular Biosciences.

"They're a major burden on global healthcare," he said.

"Approximately 25 per cent of women who suffer UTI will experience recurrent UTI within six months of initial infection.

"It's a problem magnified by increasing antibiotic resistance - antibiotic treatments can sometimes just stop working on these patients, with dire results."

The study, performed in collaboration with researchers from the University of Utah, followed a long-term recurrent UTI sufferer, using genetic analysis to find out whether the infection came from a single bacterial 'reservoir' in the body.

"The patient we examined has suffered from recurring UTIs for 45 years, since 1974," Professor Schembri said.

"The longest period she can recall being UTI-free is nine months.

"During that time she's taken almost every type of antibiotic and the same bacteria has been able to survive and escape treatment, even when the patient used some of the strongest antibiotics available in our armoury."

The research team isolated E. coli from the patient's urine during repeat infections and determined its entire DNA sequence.

UQ's Associate Professor Scott Beatson said the analysis showed the bacteria causing recurring UTIs were identical.

"This was proof - her infections did indeed originate from a common reservoir," he said.

"To find the reservoir, we also collected and sequenced the DNA of E. coli recovered from the patient's faecal samples.

"These E. coli were the same as those that caused the recurring UTI, proving that the woman had a persistent reservoir of E. coli residing in her intestine - the source of her infections.

"We now know that bacteria can reside in the intestine for very long periods and cause recurring UTIs, despite antibiotic treatment.

"Therefore, it's time we consider using antibiotics that will not just treat the UTI in the bladder, but also eliminate the infection reservoir in the intestine that seeds recurrent infection of the bladder."

The paper's first author, UQ's Dr Brian Forde, said when a patient suffered a UTI episode, a faecal sample could determine if the infecting strain also resided in the intestine, by combining bacterial culture with genome sequencing technology.

"If the same strain keeps being identified, we could design tailored treatment to eliminate the bacteria from not just the patient's urine, but also the intestinal reservoir," he said.

"We predict a treatment like this would lead to reduced incidences of recurring UTI in patients suffering from this debilitating, chronic disease for which there is currently no effective cure." Professor Schembri said.
-end-
The research has been published in Nature Communications (DOI: 10.1038/s41467-019-11571-5).

University of Queensland

Related Science Articles:

75 science societies urge the education department to base Title IX sexual harassment regulations on evidence and science
The American Educational Research Association (AERA) and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today led 75 scientific societies in submitting comments on the US Department of Education's proposed changes to Title IX regulations.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, biopharma, and pharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2018 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Science in the palm of your hand: How citizen science transforms passive learners
Citizen science projects can engage even children who previously were not interested in science.
Applied science may yield more translational research publications than basic science
While translational research can happen at any stage of the research process, a recent investigation of behavioral and social science research awards granted by the NIH between 2008 and 2014 revealed that applied science yielded a higher volume of translational research publications than basic science, according to a study published May 9, 2018 in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Xueying Han from the Science and Technology Policy Institute, USA, and colleagues.
Prominent academics, including Salk's Thomas Albright, call for more science in forensic science
Six scientists who recently served on the National Commission on Forensic Science are calling on the scientific community at large to advocate for increased research and financial support of forensic science as well as the introduction of empirical testing requirements to ensure the validity of outcomes.
World Science Forum 2017 Jordan issues Science for Peace Declaration
On behalf of the coordinating organizations responsible for delivering the World Science Forum Jordan, the concluding Science for Peace Declaration issued at the Dead Sea represents a global call for action to science and society to build a future that promises greater equality, security and opportunity for all, and in which science plays an increasingly prominent role as an enabler of fair and sustainable development.
PETA science group promotes animal-free science at society of toxicology conference
The PETA International Science Consortium Ltd. is presenting two posters on animal-free methods for testing inhalation toxicity at the 56th annual Society of Toxicology (SOT) meeting March 12 to 16, 2017, in Baltimore, Maryland.
Citizen Science in the Digital Age: Rhetoric, Science and Public Engagement
James Wynn's timely investigation highlights scientific studies grounded in publicly gathered data and probes the rhetoric these studies employ.
Science/Science Careers' survey ranks top biotech, pharma, and biopharma employers
The Science and Science Careers' 2016 annual Top Employers Survey polled employees in the biotechnology, biopharmaceutical, pharmaceutical, and related industries to determine the 20 best employers in these industries as well as their driving characteristics.
Three natural science professors win TJ Park Science Fellowship
Professor Jung-Min Kee (Department of Chemistry, UNIST), Professor Kyudong Choi (Department of Mathematical Sciences, UNIST), and Professor Kwanpyo Kim (Department of Physics, UNIST) are the recipients of the Cheong-Am (TJ Park) Science Fellowship of the year 2016.
More Science News and Science Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Teaching For Better Humans 2.0
More than test scores or good grades–what do kids need for the future? This hour, TED speakers explore how to help children grow into better humans, both during and after this time of crisis. Guests include educators Richard Culatta and Liz Kleinrock, psychologist Thomas Curran, and writer Jacqueline Woodson.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#556 The Power of Friendship
It's 2020 and times are tough. Maybe some of us are learning about social distancing the hard way. Maybe we just are all a little anxious. No matter what, we could probably use a friend. But what is a friend, exactly? And why do we need them so much? This week host Bethany Brookshire speaks with Lydia Denworth, author of the new book "Friendship: The Evolution, Biology, and Extraordinary Power of Life's Fundamental Bond". This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News.
Now Playing: Radiolab

Dispatch 3: Shared Immunity
More than a million people have caught Covid-19, and tens of thousands have died. But thousands more have survived and recovered. A week or so ago (aka, what feels like ten years in corona time) producer Molly Webster learned that many of those survivors possess a kind of superpower: antibodies trained to fight the virus. Not only that, they might be able to pass this power on to the people who are sick with corona, and still in the fight. Today we have the story of an experimental treatment that's popping up all over the country: convalescent plasma transfusion, a century-old procedure that some say may become one of our best weapons against this devastating, new disease.   If you have recovered from Covid-19 and want to donate plasma, national and local donation registries are gearing up to collect blood.  To sign up with the American Red Cross, a national organization that works in local communities, head here.  To find out more about the The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project, which we spoke about in our episode, including information on clinical trials or plasma donation projects in your community, go here.  And if you are in the greater New York City area, and want to donate convalescent plasma, head over to the New York Blood Center to sign up. Or, register with specific NYC hospitals here.   If you are sick with Covid-19, and are interested in participating in a clinical trial, or are looking for a plasma donor match, check in with your local hospital, university, or blood center for more; you can also find more information on trials at The National COVID-19 Convalescent Plasma Project. And lastly, Tatiana Prowell's tweet that tipped us off is here. This episode was reported by Molly Webster and produced by Pat Walters. Special thanks to Drs. Evan Bloch and Tim Byun, as well as the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.  Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.