Enhancing the utility of existing antibiotics by targeting bacterial behaviour?

Geraint B. Rogers, Mary P. Carroll, Kenneth D. Bruce

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


The discovery of novel classes of antibiotics has slowed dramatically. This has occurred during a time when the appearance of resistant strains of bacteria has shown a substantial increase. Concern is therefore mounting over our ability to continue to treat infections in an effective manner using the antibiotics that are currently available. While ongoing efforts to discover new antibiotics are important, these must be coupled with strategies that aim to maintain as far as possible the spectrum of activity of existing antibiotics. In many instances, the resistance to antibiotics exhibited by bacteria in chronic infections is mediated not by direct resistance mechanisms, but by the adoption of modes of growth that confer reduced susceptibility. These include the formation of biofilms and the occurrence of subpopulations of 'persister' cells. As our understanding of these processes has increased, a number of new potential drug targets have been revealed. Here, advances in our ability to disrupt these systems that confer reduced susceptibility, and in turn increase the efficacy of antibiotic therapy, are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)845-857
Number of pages13
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Feb 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • antibiotic resistance
  • bacteriophage therapy
  • biofilm
  • macrolide antibiotics
  • persister
  • quorum sensing
  • viable non-culturable

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology

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