Combating Antibiotic Resistance in the 21st Century
Antibiotic resistance is one of the most significant challenges facing the medical community today. In response, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created a list of the greatest antibiotic resistance threats, a number of which are gram-positive bacteria. The cell wall of these organisms has long been a favored target of antibiotic therapies, but the development of numerous resistance mechanisms has led to widespread resistance against nearly all major antibiotic compounds on the market. The medical community is faced with the task of developing better antibiotic compounds that preclude the spread of bacterial resistance and also increasing the screening of natural antimicrobials from organisms not readily cultured in the laboratory. The iChip is a novel in situ cultivation device that allows researchers to grow cultures of bacterial species that could not otherwise be cultured in a laboratory setting. This technology has already led to the discovery of several promising novel antimicrobial compounds, including teixobactin. This depsipeptide has excellent activity in vitro against gram-positive organisms including Clostridium difficille, Bacillus anthracis, Enterococcus strains (including vancomycin resistant enterococci), Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Staphylococcus aureus. Pharmacists have a significant impact in the education of patients receiving antibiotic therapy about the issue of drug resistance and how alternative courses of treatment may be needed if antibiotic therapy is unsuccessful.