Common causes of urinary tract infections (UTI)

Credit: Unsplash+

Urinary tract infections (UTIs), particularly cystitis, are a common and painful experience for many women, affecting one in two at some point in their lives.

Recurrent UTIs pose a significant challenge for healthcare providers, especially as antibiotic resistance makes these infections harder to treat.

Traditionally, identifying the specific bacteria causing a UTI can take several days, delaying appropriate treatment. However, recent scientific advancements have brought promising news.

Researchers from ETH Zurich and Balgrist University Hospital have developed a rapid test for UTIs using bacteriophages—viruses that target bacteria.

This innovative work, published in Nature Communications, involves genetically modified phages that are highly effective at finding and destroying bacteria. Bacteriophages, or phages, are naturally occurring viruses that infect specific bacteria.

The team, led by Professor Martin Loessner of ETH Zurich, focused on phages that target the three main bacteria responsible for UTIs: Escherichia coli, Klebsiella, and Enterococci.

The researchers engineered these phages to make the infected bacteria light up, making them easy to identify.

This new method can detect the bacteria causing a UTI from a urine sample in less than four hours, significantly speeding up the initiation of effective treatments and reducing the misuse of antibiotics.

Phage therapy, although over a century old, was largely overshadowed by antibiotics like penicillin. With the rise of antibiotic resistance, interest in phages has been renewed. Phages act like precision missiles, targeting specific bacteria without harming others.

The ETH Zurich researchers enhanced these phages further. They modified them to not only reproduce within the bacteria but also to produce bacteriocins—proteins toxic to bacteria. This dual action makes the therapy even more potent.

The next step for this promising therapy is clinical trials with patients, which the ETH Zurich team and their partners at Balgrist University Hospital will conduct.

Matthew Dunne, one of the study’s leading authors, emphasizes that this is just the beginning. There is a growing body of research exploring the use of natural and genetically modified phages in treatment.

Before phage therapies can be widely adopted in Western medicine, extensive clinical trials and changes in regulatory policies are needed to accommodate their unique nature.

This breakthrough could herald a new era in the fight against UTIs, offering a more targeted and effective treatment option that also addresses the critical issue of antibiotic resistance.

In summary, this new method developed by ETH Zurich and Balgrist University Hospital represents a significant advancement in UTI treatment.

It promises faster, more accurate diagnosis and a potent treatment approach that could improve patient outcomes and help combat antibiotic resistance.

If you care about nutrition, please read studies about berry that can prevent cancer, diabetes, and obesity, and the harm of vitamin D deficiency you need to know.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the connection between potatoes and high blood pressure,  and results showing why turmeric is a health game-changer.

Copyright © 2024 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.