Posts tagged: antibiotics

How does Photodisinfection Work?

Photodisinfection is a topical, non-antibiotic antimicrobial therapy that destroys a broad spectrum of pathogens including fungi, bacteria and virus without damaging human tissue. Unlike antibiotics, Photodisinfection selectively kills virulence factors such as the endotoxins and exotoxins produced by pathogens, leading to a clinically observable anti-inflammatory effect. The treatment process takes only minutes, making it over 1,000 times more effective at biofilm killing than antibiotics.

Photodisinfection is a minimally invasive non-thermal therapy involving the light activation of a photosensitizer to eliminate topical infections in a highly targeted approach. Photodisinfection has been proven to be safe and effective in other applications such as for the dental, sinusitis and hospital acquired infection prevention markets. In dentistry, Photodisinfection has been proven to be highly effective for the treatment of caries, endodontics, restorative dentistry, periodontitis, peri-implantitis and halitosis. Many new applications of Photodisinfection are now under development.

The Photodisinfection Process: Instant Antimicrobial Therapy

Apply Photosensitizer to Infection Site & Illuminate with Appropriate Wavelength for Several Minutes

A photosensitizing solution is applied to the treatment site where the photosensitizer molecules preferentially bind to the targeted microbes.  The photosensitizer molecules are inactive at this stage.  A light of a specific wavelength and intensity illuminates the treatment site and a photocatalytic reaction occurs.  The wavelength is carefully chosen to maximize absorption of light energy by the photosensitizer.

This 2 step procedure results in the destruction of the targeted microbes and their virulence factors without damaging host cells.  This reaction involves the formation of short-lived, highly reactive free-radical oxygen species.  These radicals cause a physical disruption of the microbial cell membrane through oxidative reactions, resulting in immediate rupture and destruction of the cell.  This process occurs in seconds with total kills completed in minutes.

The Photodisinfection process has also been shown to eliminate a multitude of virulence factors, unlike antibiotics. When the light isremoved, the photocatalytic reaction ceases along with all antimicrobial action. Photodisinfection does not promote the development of resistance.

The Photodisinfection process is both pain-free and stress-free due to lack of side-effects or damage to human tissue.

Source: Eastman Dental Institute, UK

Food For Thought: Antibiotic Resistance Generated in Food Production

The expression “food for thought” is often used proverbially more than literally, although results from FDA reports make it necessary to consider how our food and livestock are processed and put serious thought into the food we eat. To make the case immediately apparent, consider that four fifths of all antibiotic consumption in the USA is not human consumption; it’s consumed by farm animals. To quantify this statement, in 2011, 7.7 million pounds of antibiotics were consumed by American people, while 29.9 million pounds went into meat and poultry production.

Ondine

Antibiotics Sold to Livestock Industry vs. Sold for Human Consumption.

The proportion of antibiotics fed to livestock is not a recent issue, it has been growing and the problems that arise from it have accumulated for over 50 years. An alarming development of bacteria that had grown drug resistant due to antibiotics in the livestock industry is MRSA (short for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) which is a persistent threat to human health. Estimates indicate that MRSA kills 19,000 Americans each year, hospitalizes 370,000, and results in billions of dollars of additional health care spending. The intent of these statistics is not to frighten, but to raise awareness concerning administering millions of pounds of antibiotics annually to artificially boost animal growth. Maryn McKenna wrote a book chronicling the rise and danger of these superbugs (http://superbugthebook.com/).

What is important to note is that a vast majority of the provided antibiotics is not to target infections or better animal health. It is administered at a herd or flock wide basis through the animals water source or feed to promote growth and weight gain, as well as to preventatively help livestock survive harsh farm and living conditions. This is one reason why antibiotics are used, another is for therapy. Therapy is used when farm animals exhibit clinical diseases, and drugs can be an effective way to prevent catastrophic health risks that could be detrimental to the agricultural sector.

Administering antibiotics to animals is not an inherently bad thing to do, although it can become detrimental if done without caution and concern. The FDA’s report on the application of antimicrobial drugs in industry warns that “the development of resistance to this important class of drugs, and the resulting loss of their effectiveness as antimicrobial therapies, poses a serious public health threat”. In this article, the main point is not to suggest entirely eliminating antibiotic consumption in the livestock industry, but to manage it judiciously by targeting specific diseases. Another significant argument is that farmers and food corporations should “voluntarily” withdraw from using drugs which have a functional similarity to drugs used in humans, since this would reduce the concern for transmitting resistive bacteria on to humans through our food. Use of antibiotics for livestock growth promotion has been banned by many European countries, as they have determined that similar investment in more food resulted in the same growth yields without the additional antibiotic resistance generation.

It is evident that we can no longer take how our food is produced for granted. The expression food for thought is no longer some overused metaphor, it is a reality.

Antibiotic Resistance: Are We Winning the Battle, But Losing the War?

Laziness, disillusionment, anger— these are just a few words that come to mind when considering the problem of antibiotic resistance.   From the deliberate misuse of antibiotics in animal feeds, to wide-spread, inappropriate prescriptions for viral infections, the sheer scale of the problem lends itself to feelings of powerlessness and frustration.  For many of us, it’s simply easier to ignore the warning signs and shrug off the future consequences of doing nothing.  Unfortunately, the reality is that people are dying every day—in hospitals, nursing homes and long-term care facilities—from bacteria that were once treated with antibiotic therapy. What were once miracle drugs just a few decades ago—able to eradicate any bacterial infection in the blink of an eye— are now no longer working for a number of infections.  With a lack of good treatment options against resistant strains such as MRSA, enterococci, and c. difficile, frontline health professionals are becoming increasingly alarmed and frightened for future patients.

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Antibiotic Resistance: How A Global Health Problem Develops

The public sphere has been pumped full of information about how unnecessary use of antibiotics contributes to the development of resistant bacterial strains. Just take a look at this news article suggesting that more than 25 million pounds of antibiotics are given to livestock every year. However, what is less often explained is how this works at the molecular level. How does bacteria develop antibiotic resistance?

The World Health Organization has called antibiotic resistance one of the greatest global health concerns to date.

Before answering that question it is important to understand how bacterial cells work. Bacterial cells look and work differently than say a cell from our body. They have a genetic code (within DNA) but some of that code floats freely within the cell in circular structures called plasmids. One of the particularities of bacterial cells is their ability to pass plasmids amongst each other (plasmid transfer), allowing them to share traits on an extremely rapid scale. Furthermore, one bacterium can divide into two cells without the need for sexual reproduction between two parent cells.

Like us, bacteria survive on chemical based processes, which allow them to grow and replicate. Protein molecules are essential to these processes. They allow for three things:

  • Destroy/change other molecules
  • Form physical structures and barriers
  • Help build new molecules

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Study Using Periowave™ Shows Rapid Resolution Of Aggressive Periodontitis

We’re pleased to announce today that the results of a study involving antimicrobial Photodynamic Therapy (aPDT), or Photodisinfection, were presented at the 13th International Photodynamic Association World Congress. This study, conducted by Dr. Veronique Benhamou, evaluated the use of the Periowave™ Photodisinfection System in the treatment of an aggressive case of periodontitis.

The current standard of care for aggressive periodontitis involves scaling and root planing in conjunction with antibiotic therapy. The subject of this study received scaling and root planing followed by aPDT (PeriowaveTM) in place of any antibiotic therapy.  This protocol produced rapid, clinically significant results and no adverse events were reported.  The significance of the results was confirmed through standard clinical tests and x-rays.

Periowave™ is a painless, non-invasive procedure that can significantly improve treatment outcomes when added to scaling and root planing.

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Ondine To Participate in Vancouver General Hospital Infection Control Project

MRSAid product by Ondine Biomedical

World Health Day is celebrated on the 7th of April every year to mark the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO). Each year, the WHO selects a key health issue and encourages people from around the world to hold events and promote actions that will improve health. It is very fitting for Ondine then that this year’s World Health Day theme is “Combating Drug Resistance.” We have spent the last 70 years using and misusing antibiotics to treat and prevent common infectious diseases. Today, we have entered an era where bacteria have developed the ability to become resistant to most antibiotics, rendering them almost useless. It is therefore imperative that non-antibiotic solutions to fight infections are developed in order to preserve the next generation of effective medicine. Read more »

What Is A Biofilm?

In the past six years I’ve learned a lot about bugs. Microbes comprise 70% of all living organisms in the world. And we have ten times more bacteria than human cells. So why ponder these peculiar facts? In short, how we understand the myriad interactions between humans and microbes decides how we treat – or fail to treat – a range of human diseases.

My first unexpected foray into the pathology of bacterial disease started in 2005, as I became increasingly ill with an odd constellation of symptoms that eluded doctors. Looking back, it seems possible I visited every medical specialty in western medicine! My shortness of breath, fatigue, cardiovascular troubles and neck pains puzzled my PCP, ENTs, orthopedic surgeons, chiropractors, a physiatrist and an interventional radiologist. And that’s not the complete list. I knew I wasn’t crazy as my health spiraled downward into an indescribable hell.

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Photodynamic Disinfection (PDD) is the Antimicrobial application of PDT (aPDT)

The key features of aPDT can be summarized as follows [1]:

  • Broad spectrum of action, since one photosensitizer can act on bacteria, fungi, yeasts and parasitic protozoa
  • Efficacy independent of the resistance pattern of the given microbe
  • Extensive reduction of pathogen counts in minutes, without damaging host cells
  • No selection of resistant strains after multiple treatments
  • Readily available, non-toxic photosensitizers
  • Relatively low-cost light sources for activation of the photosensitizing agent
  • No cytotoxic effects on key sensitive host cells such as human keratinocytes or fibroblasts

The treatment of topical infections has traditionally relied upon antibiotics in either topical or systemic dosage forms. However, the inexorable increase in antibiotic resistance (including to vancomycin and other glycopeptides) has led to the spectre of potentially untreatable infections, and this in turn has led to the development of alternative antimicrobial approaches based on light-activated chemotherapy 2, 3. Photodynamic Disinfection (called antimicrobial PDT by the scientific community) is an extension to traditional photodynamic therapy (PDT) which was originally focused on oncotherapy and intra-ocular indications, utilizing systemically-administered photosensitizers. Read more »

Healthcare-Associated Infections: A $35-$45 billion problem

“Healthcare-associated infections are one of the biggest causes of avoidable harm and unnecessary death in the developed world” – World Health Organization

Healthcare-associated infections kill more than 99,000 people every year

Over the next few blog posts, we’ll be discussing a group of infections known as healthcare-associated infections, or HAIs. In the US alone, more than 99,000 people die each year from these infections1. While this cost on human life is high, the financial toll is equally staggering . The World Health Organization has called the HAIs one of the biggest causes of avoidable harm and unnecessary deaths in the developed world. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that HAIs add $35-$45 billion in costs to the US healthcare system each year2. As such, healthcare-associated infections have become a costly public health concern that demands immediate attention.

HAIs occur when a patient acquires an infection during the course of treatment at, or a visit to, a healthcare facility. After a patient acquires a HAI, the ramifications are often excessively expensive and deadly. In fact, HAIs are responsible for more deaths each year than car accidents, breast cancer, anorexia or AIDS. On average, they add 19 days to a patient’s hospital stay, and increase medical expenses by more than $45,0003. Read more »

The Rise of Antibiotic Resistant Sexually Transmitted Infections

Each year, more than 25 million pounds of antibiotics are consumed annually. The CDC deems at least half of these to be unjustified, leading to a rise in antibiotic resistance across different bacterial species. This rise in resistance is of great concern to global health officials since there are few, if any, new antibiotics being developed. Antimicrobial resistance is increasing among sexually transmitted pathogens1. As with common STIs such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, researchers are currently witnessing an emergence of resistant strains2. Read more »

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