Existing Drugs May Be Repurposed to Fight Drug-Resistant Bacteria

November 11, 2016

NIH researchers developed a test to identify existing drugs that might be able to combat drug-resistant bacteria.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reported on Nov. 9, 2016 that researchers at NIH’s Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) and Clinical Center and National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) have created an assay for screening existing drugs for their potential effect on resistant bacterial. The screening test could provide a new approach for repurposing already existing drugs and compounds for combating hospital-born infections and other infectious diseases, says NIH. The results of the research were published in the Nov. 9, 2016 issue of Emerging Microbes & Infections.

The researchers used the assay, which applies high-throughput screening technology, to screen approximately 4000 approved drugs and compounds. Twenty-five of these were identified as suppressing the growth of drug-resistant strains of Klebsiella pneumoniae. Eleven of the identified drugs were FDA approved and 14 were still under investigation. The drugs included antibiotics, antifungals, and antiseptics. Researchers also found three different three-drug combinations (including an antiviral, antimalarial, and anticancer compound) effective against 10 common strains of drug-resistant bacteria.

“The results are very promising, and we think that the test can eventually help repurpose approved drugs and other compounds and find clinically relevant drug combinations that can be approved for to use in different ways that we have never used before,” said NCATS scientist Wei Zheng, PhD in a press release. “We’re hoping this approach will lead to approvable, effective ways to combat dangerous infections by drug-resistant bacteria.”

Source: NIH