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 22 of 47 January/February 2017 Clinical OMICs 21 shops. Then there is the danger that the ignorant man may easily underdose himself and by exposing his microbes to non-lethal quantities of the drug make them resistant." While numerous factors are contributing to this sharp rise in resistance that the world is currently experiencing, chief among them is the overuse of antibiotic compounds. Given their extremely rapid and exponential replication rate (an E. coli bacterium can double itself approximately every 20 min- utes), and ability to survive an extensive number of genetic mutations, bacteria have evolved to be the ultimate survivor. Certainly, long after humans have outlived their time on this planet, microbes will continue to chug along, barely even recognizing our species' existence. Force the micro- scopic critters to choose between dying or rapidly adapting by placing them under the chemical squeeze of antibiotic compounds, and they will be all too happy to mutate and return even more virulent. Keep in mind that there are bacterial species (Deinococcus radiodurans) that can withstand a dose of ionizing radiation 3,000 times greater than the dose that would kill a human—due to their extreme ability to repair and adapt to DNA damage that would destroy most life. Get in Front of It So how does science keep on top of a such a seemingly formidable, if not tiny, adversary? Obviously, there are multiple approaches, but developing better therapeutics is paramount for most researchers. While compounds that are fast acting, exquisitely lethal, and unique to only patho- genic bacteria would be ideal, science isn't quite capable of that form of therapy just yet. However, we are well entrenched in the genomic age, and investi- gators have advanced tools at their disposal which allow them to identify genotypic muta- tions that rapidly lead to resistance phenotypes. "Genomic analysis offers an unprecedented window into the origins, functions, and dissemination of antibiotic resistance," says Michael Gillings, Ph.D., professor in the department of biological sciences at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia. "We now have the power to understand how antibiotic resistance arises in real time, how resistance genes move between bacterial species, and how bacterial species are spread around the globe. Submissions to globally accessible databases ensure that researchers everywhere can obtain information quickly." Gautam Dantas, Ph.D., associate professor in the depart- ment of molecular microbiology at Washington University School of Medicine thinks that the simplest impact OMICS (continued on next page) While antimicrobial drug resistance is growing at an alarming rate globally, the phenomenon is not new.... In 1940, only slightly a decade after penicillin's discovery, the first strains of Staphylococcus resistant to the compound were detected. jarun011 / Getty Images

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