Finding The Right Pair Of Antibiotics To Fight Resistant Bacteria

An on-chip screening method allowed scientists in South Korea to identify synergistic pairs of antibiotics for treating stubborn infections.

AsianScientist (May 6, 2019) – A research group in South Korea has developed a microfluidic-based drug screening chip that identifies synergistic interactions between two antibiotics in eight hours. They published their results in the journal Lab on a Chip.

Antibiotic susceptibility testing, which determines the types and doses of antibiotics that can effectively inhibit bacterial growth, has become more critical in recent years with the emergence of antibiotic-resistant pathogenic bacteria strains.

To fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria, clinicians are using combinatory therapy comprising two or more types of antibiotics. However, not all drug combinations produce effective results. Therefore, combinatory testing is a crucial preliminary process to find suitable antibiotic pairs and their concentration range against unknown pathogens.

Seeking to reduce time and enhance the efficiency of combinatory testing, Professor Jessie Jeon Sungyun and colleagues at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have developed a high-throughput drug screening chip that can generate 121 pairwise concentrations between two antibiotics.

They loaded a mixture of bacterial samples and agarose into the microchannel of the chip and injected reagents with or without antibiotics into a separate compartment. The diffusion of antibiotic molecules resulted in the formation of two orthogonal concentration gradients of the two antibiotics on the bacteria-trapping agarose gel.

The team observed the inhibition of bacterial growth over six hours with a microscope and confirmed the identities of different antibiotic pairs, which could be classified as synergistic or antagonistic in terms of bactericidal properties.

“The feasibility of microfluidic-based drug screening chips is promising, and we expect our microfluidic chip to be commercialized and utilized in near future,” said Jeon.

The article can be found at: Kim et al. (2019) On-chip Phenotypic Investigation of Combinatory Antibiotic Effects by Generating Orthogonal Concentration Gradients.


Source: Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology .
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