Singapore researchers enhance the efficacy of drugs

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A*STAR’s researchers have found ways to enhance drug efficiency. Dr. Desmond Heng and his team of researchers from A*STAR’s Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences (ICES), have developed a new combination of drugs to effectively combat bacteria in the lungs which lead to common respiratory system infections, or bacteria-linked pulmonary diseases such as pneumonia, bronchiectasis and cystic fibrosis.

Four new drug formulations of antibiotics have been developed by the team and these have proven to be extremely effective in laboratory trials in treating these diseases. These are also helpful in reducing the antibiotic resistance of “superbugs”. Most important of all, the new formulations can be inhaled by the patient directly, thus higher concentrations of the medicine would reach the lungs quicker, helping the patient to fight the disease faster.           

The team’s findings show that all mixtures were effective against multi-drug resistant strains which include bacterial pathogens such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Klebsiella pneumoniae. These formulations kill more multi-drug resistant bacteria than a single drug, and are up to five times more effective than antibiotics used for treating respiratory system infections today.

Associate Professor Raymond Lin, head and senior consultant, Division of Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine at National University Hospital (NUH), said: “Novel ways to deliver antibiotics to kill bacteria in the lungs and airways are important at a time when the population is aging and more people are expected to suffer from different kinds of respiratory infections in future. The global spread of antibiotic resistance in bacteria means that new solutions to tackling them are urgently needed, both to effect better cure and to prevent the rise of multi-drug resistance. The next crucial step will be to translate laboratory findings to clinical application.”

The above story is based on materials provided here.

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Scientist-entrepreneur-manager-journalist: -Co-founder, Author; Former Assistant Editor and Director, Biotechin.Asia, Biotech Media Pte. Ltd.; -Founder & CEO, SciGlo (www.sciglo.com); -Programme Management Officer, SBIC, A*STAR (former Research Fellow). --Sandhya graduated from University of Madras, India (B.Sc Microbiology and M.Sc Biotechnology) and received her Ph.D from the Nanyang Technological University, Singapore. She worked on oxidative stress in skin, skeletal, adipose tissue and cardiac muscle for a decade from 2006-2016. She is currently working as a Programme Management Officer handling projects and grants at Singapore Bioimaging Consortium (SBIC), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR). Earlier to this she was a Research Fellow in the Fat Metabolism and Stem Cell Group at SBIC. Sandhya was also the Vice President and Publicity Chair of A*PECSS (A*STAR Post Doc Society) (2014-2016). Recently she founded a platform for scientists - SciGlo (www.sciglo.com) and is a startup mentor at Vertical VC (Finland). She is an ardent lover of science and enjoys globe trotting and good vegetarian food.