The optimal deployment of synergistic antibiotics: a control-theoretic approach

Pena-Miller, Rafael, Lähnemann, David, Schulenburg, Hinrich, Ackermann, Martin and Beardmore, Robert (2012) The optimal deployment of synergistic antibiotics: a control-theoretic approach Journal of the Royal Society Interface, 9 (75). pp. 2488-2502.

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Medical and pharmacological communities have long searched for antimicrobial drugs that increase their effect when used in combination, an interaction known as synergism. These drug combinations, however, impose selective pressures in favour of multi-drug resistance and as a result, the benefit of synergy may be lost after only a few bacterial generations. Furthermore, there is experimental evidence that antibiotic treatment can disrupt colonization resistance by shifting the balance between enteropathogenic and commensal bacteria in favour of the pathogens, with the potential to increase the risk of infections. So, we ask, what is the best way of using synergistic drugs? We pose an evolutionary model of commensal and pathogenic bacteria competing in a continuous culture device for a single limiting carbon source under the effect of two bacteriostatic and synergistic antibiotics. This model allows us to evaluate the efficacy of different drug deployment strategies and, using ideas from optimal control theory, to understand whether there are circumstances in which other types of therapy might be favoured over those based on fixed-dose multi-drug combinations. Our main result can be stated thus: the optimal deployment of synergistic antibiotics to remove a pathogen in the presence of commensal bacteria in our model system occurs not in combination, but by deploying them sequentially.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
ISSN: 1742-5689
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 14 May 2014 09:44
Last Modified: 10 Apr 2018 09:33

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