Clinical OMICS

JAN-FEB 2017

Healthcare magazine for research scientists, labs, pathologists, hospitals, cancer centers, physicians and biopharma companies providing news articles, expert interviews and videos about molecular diagnostics in precision medicine

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Page 21 of 47 Jeffrey S. Buguliskis, Ph.D., Technical Editor Tackling the Inevitability of Resistance One Genome at a Time Infectious Fight " G eology is the study of pressure and time. That's all it takes really... pres- sure... and time...," bellows Morgan Freeman's character, Red, when foreshadowing his friend Andy Dufresne's harrowing escape from prison in the critically acclaimed movie Shawshank Redemption. Oddly enough, this same logic can be applied to antibiotic resistance, although bacterial change occurs exponentially more rapidly than the millennia it can take to create various geological wonders. For microbes, however, the biological pressures that scien- tists presume underlie the formation of resistance mutations doesn't come in the form of sedimentation, stalactites, or shifts in plate tectonics, as it does in geology. Rather, the genetic burdens exerted by numerous human developed antibiotic, and drug therapies, as well as natural environmental conditions, are the most significant factors fueling resistance. While antimicrobial drug resistance is growing at an alarming rate globally, the phenomenon is not new, nor is it an occurrence that only recently has come to pass. In 1940, only slightly a decade after penicillin's dis- covery, the first strains of Staphylo- coccus resistant to the compound were detected. Five years later, in his Nobel lecture concern- ing his breakthrough discovery, Alexander Fleming prophetically warned those in attendance about the dangers of microbial resistance: "It is not difficult to make microbes resistant to penicillin in the laboratory by exposing them to concentrations not sufficient to kill them, and the same thing has occasionally happened in the body...The time may come when penicillin can be bought by anyone in the jarun011 / Getty Images

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