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Research Could Lead to New Non-Antibiotic Drugs to Counter Hospital Infections

posted Apr 10, 2009, 9:16 AM by Joseph Carpenter   [ updated Apr 10, 2009, 9:16 AM ]
Newswise Medical News | Research Could Lead to New Non-Antibiotic Drugs to Counter Hospital Infections
"Newswise — Lack of an adequate amount of the mineral phosphate can turn a common bacterium into a killer, according to research to be published in the April 14, 2009, issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The findings could lead to new drugs that would disarm the increasingly antibiotic-resistant pathogen rather than attempting to kill it.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most serious hospital-acquired pathogens. A common cause of lung infections, it is also found in the intestinal tract of 20 percent of all Americans and 50 percent of hospitalized patients in the United States.

It is one of the hundreds of bacteria that colonize the human intestinal tract, usually causing no apparent harm. It might even be beneficial to its host. Once the host is weakened by an illness, surgical procedure or immunosuppressive drugs, however, P. aeruginosa can cause infection, inflammation, sepsis and death.

Why P. aeruginosa can suddenly turn on its host has eluded researchers—until now. Scientists have long known that after an operation or organ surgery, levels of inorganic phosphate fall. The authors of the PNAS paper, led by scientists at the University of Chicago, hypothesized that phosphate depletion in the stressed intestinal tract signals P. aeruginosa to become lethal. "
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/550976/
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