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Ebselen Shows Potential for Drug-Resistant Clostridium difficile

Mouse study finds treatment safe and effective; currently unknown if therapy will help in humans

THURSDAY, Sept. 24, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- An experimental study suggests that ebselen might be a new weapon in the fight against Clostridium difficile. The research, which was funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, was published in the Sept. 23 issue of Science Translational Medicine.

The study involved a number of rounds of laboratory and animal testing, with focus centering on ebselen's impact on the activity of toxin B (TcdB), C. difficile's main toxin.

Mice injected with ebselen-treated TcdB molecules survived. Mice exposed to untreated molecules died within two days. Similarly, the researchers found that when mice with an antibiotic-resistant strain of C. difficile were treated with oral doses of ebselen, they experienced almost no cell damage.

The results were "very encouraging," study author Matthew Bogyo, Ph.D., a professor of pathology and of microbiology and immunology at Stanford University's School of Medicine in California, told HealthDay. "While we can only know how effective the strategy will be in humans once we start a clinical trial, we feel that our results strongly suggest that the drug will be effective, and should help to treat symptoms while allowing the good bacteria to return and control the infection."

Several study authors are listed on a provisional patent entitled "Use of small molecules for the treatment of C. difficile toxicity."

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