(HealthDay News) – Cycling between antibiotics can select against the development of drug resistance, according to a study published in the Sept. 25 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

Lejla Imamovic, PhD, and Morten O.A. Sommer, PhD, from the Technical University of Denmark in Lyngby, evolved parallel lineages of Escherichia coli that were resistant to 23 clinically relevant antibiotics from 11 chemical classes and mechanisms of action, and then examined their sensitivity to other antibiotics.

The researchers found that E. coli strains that were resistant to one antibiotic became sensitive to another antibiotic. Antibiotics with compatible “collateral sensitivity” profiles such as gentamicin and cefuroxime were used to sequentially treat E. coli infection and used cyclically to select against the development of drug resistance. The results were validated in related bacterial pathogens.

“These results provide proof of principle for collateral sensitivity cycling as a sustainable treatment paradigm that may be generally applicable to infectious diseases and cancer,” Imamovic and Sommer conclude.

Sommer is a founder of several companies with competing financial interests.

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