Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have taken over the world’s largest healthcare industry, but the drugs they have to fight them don’t work in every situation.
Now, an emerging field of medicine, called bioactive medicines, aims to improve on that and improve how we manage them.
The term bioactive medicine, which was coined by researchers at the University of Toronto in collaboration with a Chinese pharmaceutical company, describes medicines that work differently from conventional ones, and can offer new ways of thinking about the role of antibiotics in preventing infection and treating some chronic diseases.
A bioactive drug can help people fight infections like urinary tract infections and pneumonia, and treat conditions like inflammatory bowel disease.
But the term also applies to a wide variety of medicines, from weight loss to anti-inflammatory drugs, and for many years there has been confusion about what the term means.
The University of Alberta’s Dr. David Denniston, who helped develop the term, said his work is based on decades of research, including interviews with doctors, pharmacists, and patients.
The research is published in the journal Nature Medicine.
Denniston and colleagues used a combination of genetic sequencing, machine learning and statistical analysis to create a database of more than 12,000 antibiotics, which is used by the world to track and assess how well medicines work in humans.
The database included about 1.2 million generics, or over 1,000 drugs, including more than 2,400 brand names.
Using a technique called molecular clockwork, the researchers identified more than 1,400 of the drugs and their associated mechanisms that could have different effects on different bacterial populations, including those that fight bacteria and those that treat other diseases.
They also looked at how the compounds interacted with each other.
Dennais said the approach is different than existing systems that use the drug in isolation.
That’s because bioactive drugs can’t be tested against a given bacterial species or bacteria that might be present in a patient’s gut.
Instead, the team looked at the effects of different molecules in the gut, which could be different depending on the patient’s type of bacteria.
Using this information, the scientists created a model of how the various compounds interacted.
The results showed that a wide range of molecules could be used to treat bacterial infections, even if only a small fraction of the drug was active.
For example, one molecule called quinolinic acid could be helpful in reducing the production of inflammatory mediators like COX-2, while another called azoxystrobin could be useful in preventing infections.
But they could also have different impacts on different bacteria.
For instance, azoxystroke could reduce infections in people with high levels of Clostridium difficile bacteria, but also lower levels of a bacteria that causes the condition Crohn’s disease.
Another study showed that certain antibiotics might have different antibacterial effects depending on their molecular composition, including for people with Crohns disease, for which there is no approved drug.
For instance, quinolones and carbapenems are effective against Clostidium diff, but could not be effective against a bacteria known to cause a serious infection called Salmonella.
Researchers hope that their work will shed new light on how antibiotics work in our bodies.
But for some of the treatments, such as anti-viral drugs, they need to be tested in human patients first, so they have limited information.
They hope their findings can help scientists and physicians better understand how to design treatments that are effective in different types of bacteria and different conditions.
For more news on health and science, follow us on Facebook and Twitter.