Combination Therapy Key to Fighting Bacterial Infections

by Karen Buckheit

October 4, 2018

A recent report indicates that complex multi-drug combinations of antibiotics could be the key to fighting deadly bacteria. Current antibiotic treatments include using one or two drugs to fight an infection, and these treatments are becoming less and less effective as bacteria and other pathogens continue to develop and spread resistance mechanisms against them. It has been previously thought that combinations of three or more drugs would either have a low impact on infections or have adverse chemical interactions with each other. However, researchers at UCLA have discovered that combinations of 4 or 5 antibiotics prove stronger at killing harmful bacteria than expected.

A team of biologists at UCLA began with 8 antibiotics which target pathogens by 6 different mechanisms, resulting in 18,278 combinations which were tested against E. coli. Based on what the researchers knew about the drugs and the bacteria, they made predictions of how successful each combination would be. Of the over 18,000 combinations, 1,676 of the 4-drug combinations and 6,443 of the 5-drug combinations were more effective than predicted.

The finding that a combination of drugs can combat an infection better than the single drugs on their own, or a smaller subset of the drugs together, could benefit antibiotic research and therapeutic strategies in the future. This is especially important today as the resistance of superbugs is on the rise and effective antibiotic treatments are becoming more limited.

ImQuest BioSciences is well-versed at performing anti-bacterial combination assays to support drug development efforts by the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries to identify more potent antibacterial agents to combat resistant organisms. As part of our MicroSENS platform, we have the ability to evaluate antimicrobial combinations against bacteria with varying resistance profiles representing clinically-relevant Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms utilizing standard methodologies that determine the fractional inhibitory concentration (FIC) index of combinations of drugs. Contact us to learn more about our services to support your antibacterial development needs.

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