About My Health Careers Internship MedBlogs Contact us

Extensive Study Probes New Concerns on Antibiotic Use for Cystic Fibrosis

by Nancy Needhima on March 30, 2012 at 11:41 AM
Font : A-A+

Extensive Study Probes New Concerns on Antibiotic Use for Cystic Fibrosis

When concerning treating cystic fibrosis, the existing standard of aggressive antibiotic treatments may not at all times be the best answer, discovers a decade-long study led by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Traditionally, bacteria-blasting antibiotics are used to suppress infection in CF patients'' lungs to the lowest level possible, but maintaining a diversity of bacterial communities may help some patients stay healthy longer, says the study''s senior author, John J. LiPuma, M.D.


The findings appear today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

"The conventional wisdom has been that as patients with CF age and become sicker, as their lung disease progresses, more and more bacteria move in," says LiPuma, the James L. Wilson, M.D., Research Professor of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at the U-M Medical School. "But our study - which was the first to examine the bacterial communities in CF patients'' lungs over a long period of time - indicates that''s not what happens."

Instead, aggressive use of antibiotics - rather than a patient's age or disease progression - is responsible for lowering the diversity of lung bacteria, leading to infections that become increasingly hard to treat. A diverse community of bacteria may encourage competition that keeps the most virulent strains in check, the researchers found.

"What we normally do is essentially carpet bombing with antibiotics," continues LiPuma, who is also an associate chair of the pediatrics department at U-M. "However, what we found is that over time this ultimately helps treatment-resistant bacteria by getting rid of their competition."

LiPuma says the results may mark a first step toward developing new therapeutic approaches, such as more narrowly tailored use of antibiotics or even a probiotic approach.

Cystic fibrosis is a chronic, life-threatening disease that leaves one vulnerable to repeated, ever-more-serious infections. It causes the body to produce thick, sticky mucus that clogs the lungs and provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. CF, which affects 30,000 people in the United States, is usually detected in early childhood and thanks to medical advances in recent decades, patients often survive into their 30s and 40s.

Even as bacterial diversity declines over time, the researchers found the overall level or "load" of bacteria remains fairly constant - meaning that as diversity declines, a small number of organisms multiply to take the place of those that have been destroyed.

Previous studies have collected samples from individual patients at a single point in time, which makes it difficult to examine relationships between the progression of the disease, antibiotic treatments and other variables, LiPuma explains. This study examined the bacteria from six patients collected over a period of eight to nine years. Three patients had a relatively stable type of the disease and three had the more typical, faster progressing form. DNA analysis was conducted on bacteria in 126 sputum samples.

The researchers were also surprised that exacerbations couldn''t be linked to any specific changes in bacterial communities. Additional research is underway to look for more subtle signals that may precede or accompany flare ups, says LiPuma, who is also a professor of epidemiology at the U-M School of Public Health.

"Increasing our understanding of the relationship between bacteria in the lung and the progression of cystic fibrosis is critical to developing new treatments and prolonging patients'' lives," he notes.

Source: Newswise

News A-Z
News Category
What's New on Medindia
Top 7 Benefits of Good Oral Hygiene
Healthy and Safer Thanksgiving 2021
Long-Term Glycemic Control - A Better Measure of COVID-19 Severity
View all

Medindia Newsletters Subscribe to our Free Newsletters!
Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.

More News on:
Cystic Fibrosis MRSA - The Super Bug Drug Resistance - Antibiotic Resistance 

Recommended Reading
Probiotics Useful in Preventing Necrotizing Enterocolitis in Preterm Infants
Probiotics are useful in preventing a serious complication called necrotizing enterocolitis in ......
Probiotics Reduce Duration of ICU Stay in Critically Ill Patients
Probiotics can safely be used in critically ill patients. They decrease the duration of ICU stay ......
Cystic Fibrosis – New Drug to Target Basic Defect
A new drug VX-770 has been synthesized to treat cystic fibrosis patients. Going by reports, it is .....
Cystic Fibrosis
Cystic fibrosis is a genetic disease involving the mucus and sweat glands and the medical world has ...
Drug Resistance - Antibiotic Resistance
Drug resistance is often a problem in malaria, tuberculosis, HIV, sexually transmitted diseases and ...
MRSA - The Super Bug
MRSA infection is the most dreaded hospital or community acquired infection that can become ......

Disclaimer - All information and content on this site are for information and educational purposes only. The information should not be used for either diagnosis or treatment or both for any health related problem or disease. Always seek the advice of a qualified physician for medical diagnosis and treatment. Full Disclaimer

© All Rights Reserved 1997 - 2021

This site uses cookies to deliver our services. By using our site, you acknowledge that you have read and understand our Cookie Policy, Privacy Policy, and our Terms of Use