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New Way To Prevent Burn Injury Infections Without Using Antibiotics

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  • Burn injury infections are one of the common complications of burns.
  • Antibiotics used in the treatment of burn injury infections may develop resistance.
  • Burn Injury Infections can be treated using a new way of blinding the bacteria instead of killing them.

New Way To Prevent Burn Injury Infections Without Using Antibiotics

Burn Injury Infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria can be treated by masking the bacteria instead of killing them, finds a new study from the UT Southwestern Medical Center.

The study findings were detailed in the Scientific Reports.


Dr. Steven Wolf, Section Chief for Burns and Professor of Surgery at UT Southwestern Medical Center, said, "In the United States, there are more than 1 million burn injuries and 100,000 hospitalizations annually. Up to 75 percent of the mortality in burn patients is associated with infections, which are particularly common in patients who suffer extensive burns -- those that cover 40 percent or more of the body."

"Rather than killing the bacteria, we blinded them so they could not find the places where they normally stick to the host (body's) cells. If bacteria cannot bind, they cannot grow," he added.

The study was conducted on one of the most lethal pathogens called Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is found in 33% of burn cases and 59% of extensive burns. The research team also showed that the topical application of engineered adhesion inhibitor molecule called Multivalent Adhesion Molecule 7 or MAM 7 to have significantly decreased the bacterial levels in the wounds and prevent the spread of the infection for three days.

They also found the molecule to have wound healing properties and maintain normal inflammatory responses.

Dr. Kim Orth, Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at UT Southwestern, said, Antibiotics fight bacterial infections by killing them. However when placed under extreme conditions they may develop antibiotic resistance.

"Our approach doesn't target bacterial survival; rather it targets the microbes' ability to damage the host - its virulence. There is no reason for the bacteria to become resistant to this approach. Being unable to bind to wounded tissue is an inconvenience, and the bacteria move on," she said.

The situation was compared to the parking place of the shopping mall. She explained that if all the parking places were filled then the bacteria would not have any place to park.

Dr. Anne Marie Krachler, said, a group of adhesion molecules called adhesins created by bacteria may help them to bind or stick in an early step to cause infections. Multivalent Adhesion Molecules MAM7 are used by the gram-negative bacteria in the burn study.

He also found that the lack of adhesion molecule made the bacteria to be less available to cause infections. The research team was able to study the molecular activity of the adhesion molecule and test its efficacy using a fluorescent-strain of antibiotic-resistant bacteria in an animal model.

Dr. Orth, said, "We attached lots of copies of MAM7 to the microbeads. In this study, we found that topically applied MAM7-coupled microbeads reach the cells' binding sites first and - for at least four days in this experiment - stay there, without hindering wound healing. The MAM7 adhesion inhibitors remain on the wounds and prevent the bacteria from binding to the tissue."

This strategy can also be used to rule out treatment options for diabetes and surgical wounds that can be infected, said, Dr.Krachler.

Antibiotic Resistance
Antibiotic resistance may scare prevention and treatment options for bacterial infections. Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) may cause infections and are resistant to most of the antibiotics.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States in 2013 proved that around 2 million people are affected by the bacteria and around 23,000 people die due to the infections.

How to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance
  • Antibiotics should not be used for common cold and other viral infections.
  • Follow the entire course of antibiotics prescribed by the doctor to avoid resistance.
Burn Injury Infections
Burn Injuries are often caused due to heat, chemicals, electricity or radiation. Burn injury infections can increase the risk of bacterial infections leading to sepsis. It is one of the most common complications of burn injuries. These infections may travel through the bloodstream and affect the body. Burn injury infections may also occur due to the use of tubes and catheters.

  1. Burns - ( https://medlineplus.gov/burns.html)
  2. Burn Injury Complications - ( http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/burns/basics/complications/con-20035028)
  3. Antibiotic Resistance Threats in the United States, 2013 - ( https://www.cdc.gov/drugresistance/threat-report-2013/ )

Source: Medindia

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