Antibiotic Cycling: A Cautionary Tale

Research Horizons Seminar
Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 12:10
1 hour (actually 50 minutes)
Skiles 006
GA Tech
Antibiotics have greatly reduced morbidity and mortality from infectious diseases. Although antibiotic resistance is not a new problem, it breadth now constitutes asignificant threat to human health. One strategy to help combat resistance is to find novel ways of using obsolete antibiotics.  For strains of E. coli and P. aeruginosa, pairs of antibiotics have been found where evolution of resistance to one increases, sometimes significantly, sensitivity to the other. These researchers have proposed cycling such pairs to treat infections. Similar strategies are being investigated to treat cancer. Using systems of ODEs, we model several possible treatment protocols using pairs and triples of such antibiotics, and investigate the speed of ascent of multiply resistant mutants. Rapid ascent would doom this strategy. This is joint work with Klas Udekwu (Stockholm University).