Taking on the C difficile challenge

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Taking on the C difficile challenge

In the United States, nearly half a million infections are caused by Clostridium difficile (C. difficile) annually, with approximately 17% experiencing at least one recurrence; almost 6% of patients die within 30 days of diagnosis.

The standard first-line treatment for C. difficile infection (CDI) relies on the antibiotic metronidazole; however, metronidazole is not as effective for severe cases of CDI, due to its rapid absorption in the upper GI tract. At Texas A&M, Julian Hurdle’s group are using Whitley Anaerobic Workstations to improve treatment outcome by developing modified derivatives of metronidazole.

Julian Hurdle and Philip Cherian describe their research in their 2015 paper “Gastrointestinal localization of metronidazole by a lactobacilli-inspired tetramic acid motif improves treatment outcomes in the hamster model of Clostridium difficile infection“. In essence, the group synthesized a series of metronidazole derivatives with a tetramic acid motif utilized by Lactobacillus strains, assaying their efficacy in C. difficile cultures growing in a Whitley A35 Workstation. In animal experiments, the modified compounds were found to exhibit significantly better efficacy in treating CDI, due to minimal absorption as compared to the unmodified drug. The A35 Anaerobic Workstation enables comfortable gloveless access to the chamber, where cultures are manipulated and incubated under consistent anaerobic conditions. Features such as HEPA containment and anaerobic conditions monitoring system guarantee that the atmosphere inside the workstation is absolutely anaerobic and particulate free. Drs Hurdle and Cherian have recently applied for a patent for compounds and methods based on their C. difficile research.

All over the world, labs are using Whitley Workstations to research C. difficile. In the UK, C. difficile is still a challenge with 17,925 cases reported in 2015. Leeds General Infirmary now has five Whitley Workstations. Dr Jane Freeman at Leeds uses an A95 Anaerobic Workstation, our largest workstation, which can accommodate two technicians simultaneously and has a capacity of up to 1400 plates. The team at Leeds appreciate the reliable anaerobic atmosphere, the spacious working area, and the ability to keep instrumentation inside the workstation. Watch this YouTube video highlighting  Dr Freeman’s work with C. difficile.


By Dr Burga Kalz Fuller

Microbiology International is the exclusive distributor for Whitley Anaerobic Workstations in North America.


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