These findings offer a potential new approach to treating CDIs for a global medical community vexed by the dangerous pathogen and in need of a novel solution. “The toxins have become promising nonantibiotic treatment targets,” write the authors. “Here, we have identified a pathway responsible for activating the production of the toxins. This important finding opens up a unique therapeutic target for the development of a novel nonantibiotic therapy for C. difficile
Study author Charles Darkoh, PhD, explains how his team plans on building on their research findings. “By crippling their toxin-making machinery, C. diff
cannot make toxins and thus cannot cause disease. My laboratory is already working on this and was awarded a 5-year National Institutes of Health grant to investigate and develop an oral compound we have identified that inactivate the toxins and block the toxin-making machinery of C. diff
by targeting this pathway.”
“By crippling their toxin-making machinery, C. diff cannot make toxins and thus cannot cause disease.” -Charles Darkoh, PhD.
People most at risk for CDIs are those: with recent antibiotic exposure, are on proton pump inhibitors, have undergone recent gastrointestinal surgery, are in the midst of lengthy stays in healthcare settings, have compromised immune systems and are at advanced age. C. difficile
is transmitted through feces, and so surfaces such as toilets, baths, and rectal thermometers that are exposed to feces may become contaminated with the bacteria spores. Those that have touched contaminated surfaces, such as healthcare personnel, can transfer the bacteria, and so hand washing with soap and water and the use of gloves remain important ways to prevent spreading C. difficile
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