Rush Delivery

Two researchers work to speed development of new antibiotics

(RxWiki News) Two University of Houston professors are working to cut down on the amount of time it takes to develop new antibiotics.

Vincent Tam, associate professor of clinical sciences, and Michael Nikolaou, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, are looking to speed the process by focusing on dosing regimens to find which are most likely to be effective at fighting infections and which are not worth pursuing.

Tam said there is a need to develop antimicrobial agents at a rapid pace through pharmacodynamic modeling, which analyzes the effects of drugs on organisms. He said his and Nikolaou's aim is to develop new antibodies and optimize existing medications designed to combat drug-resistant bacteria.

Traditional drug development takes a great deal of trial-and-error testing and empirical selection of dosing regimens for clinical trials. Tam and Nikolaou have employed computer modeling and simulation to predict how bacteria may respond to different drug exposures. They sought to find out how much medication a pateint should take, how often the medication should be taken and for how many days using these techniques.

The approach, in an attempt to develop what Nikolaou calls a "more robust computational tool" covering an array of possible scenarios, allowed the researchers to take extra variables into consideration.

The researchers are now in the process of refining a prototype computer program to be used in clinical settings.

The study was funded by part of a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation.

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Review Date: 
February 14, 2011