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Lab Reports
January 6, 2015

Designing Drug Combinations to Prevent Antibiotic Resistance

JAMA. 2015;313(1):20. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.17618

New research indicates that knowledge about the evolutionary changes leading to antibiotic resistance and sensitivity against individual drugs can be used to design drug combinations that limit the emergence of resistance (Munck C et al. Sci Transl Med. 2014;6[262]:262ra156).

By studying the response of Escherichia coli to 10 different antibiotic drug pairs and their single-drug components, a team led by investigators at Technical University of Denmark uncovered specific genetic mutations that caused collateral sensitivity, which occurs when the evolution of resistance to 1 drug leads to increased sensitivity toward another drug. The scientists also discovered the genetic changes that underlie collateral resistance, when resistance to 1 drug leads to increased resistance to another.