Hospitals struggle to prevent the infections that complicate treatment for cancer, joint replacement, heart surgery and other conditions. Hospital-acquired infections are often resistant to multiple antibiotics, leading to approximately 100,000 deaths and more than $30 billion in additional health care costs yearly. New drugs are being developed to combat these infections, but resistance invariably emerges to these last-line drugs.
Daptomycin, a new antibiotic approved by the FDA in 2003, is used to treat infections caused by multi-drug resistant bacteria, including staph and microbes known as enterococci. Scientists in the Department of Ophthalmology at Mass. Eye and Ear and Harvard Medical School, and the pharmaceutical company Cubist, which produces daptomycin under the trade name Cubicin, teamed up to discover the basis for resistance that has now begun to emerge to daptomycin in the enterococci. Their discovery of a new mechanism of resistance is described in an article in the current (July) issue of Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
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"Genetic Basis for Daptomycin Resistance in Enterococci" (http://aac.asm.org/cgi/content/full/55/7/3345?maxtoshow=&hits=10&RESULTFORMAT=&fulltext=Gilmore&searchid=1&FIRSTINDEX=0&volume=55&issue=7&resourcetype=HWCIT)