Research

Ancient medicinal clay shows promise against today's worst bacterial infections

Naturally occurring clay from British Columbia, Canada - long used by the region's Heiltsuk First Nation for its healing potential - exhibits potent antibacterial activity against multidrug-resistant pathogens, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

The researchers recommend the rare mineral clay be studied as a clinical treatment for serious infections caused by ESKAPE strains of bacteria.

The so-called ESKAPE pathogens - Enterococcus faecium, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter species - cause the majority of U.S. hospital infections and effectively 'escape' the effects of antibacterial drugs.

"Infections caused by ESKAPE bacteria are essentially untreatable and contribute to increasing mortality in hospitals," says UBC microbiologist Julian Davies, co-author of the paper published today in the American Society for Microbiology's mBio journal.

"After 50 years of over-using and misusing antibiotics, ancient medicinals and other natural mineral-based agents may provide new weapons in the battle against multidrug-resistant pathogens."

The clay deposit is situated on Heiltsuk First Nation's traditional territory, 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Vancouver, Canada, in a shallow five-acre granite basin. The 400-million kilogram (400,000 tonne) deposit was formed near the end of the last Ice Age, approximately 10,000 years ago.

Local First Nations people have used the clay for centuries for its therapeutic properties - anecdotal reports cite its effectiveness for ulcerative colitis, duodenal ulcer, arthritis, neuritis, phlebitis, skin irritation, and burns.

"We're fortunate to be able to partner with UBC on this significant research program" says Lawrence Lund, president of Kisameet Glacial Clay, a business formed to market cosmetic and medicinal products derived from the clay. "We hope it will lead to the development of a novel and safe antimicrobial that can be added to the diminished arsenal for the fight against the ESKAPE pathogens and other infection-related health issues plaguing the planet."

In the in vitro testing conducted by Davies and UBC researcher Shekooh Behroozian, clay suspended in water killed 16 strains of ESKAPE bacteria samples from sources including Vancouver General Hospital, St. Paul's Hospital, and the University of British Columbia's wastewater treatment pilot plant.

No toxic side effects have been reported in the human use of the clay, and the next stage in clinical evaluation would involve detailed clinical studies and toxicity testing. Loretta Li, with UBC's Department of Civil Engineering, is conducting mineralogical and chemical analyses of the clay as well. MITACS, Kisameet Glacial Clay Inc. and the Tally Fund supported the work.

Most Popular Now

One family's history of the rare co…

In recognition of International Fabry Awareness month, Shire has released the trailer for Our Fabry Family Tree, a short film series featuring a family who were unknowing...

Read more

What's the secret to living a full …

If you have ever asked yourself, "What makes me feel most fulfilled?" you are not alone. Nearly 2 million people recently answered that question in a new survey by Abbott...

Read more

Bristol-Myers Squibb reports first …

Bristol-Myers Squibb Company (NYSE:BMY) today reported results for the first quarter of 2016, which were highlighted by strong sales for Opdivo, Eliquis and our hepatitis...

Read more

Researchers discover potential trea…

Researchers at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai say that tiny doses of a cancer drug may stop the raging, uncontrollable immune response to infection that lead...

Read more

Ready. Raise. Rise. Campaign

The Ready. Raise. Rise. campaign encourages everyone to raise and share a flag to salute those who have been touched by cancer, especially patients and caregivers, and le...

Read more

Pfizer reports first-quarter 2016 r…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) reported financial results for first-quarter 2016 and updated certain components of its 2016 financial guidance. Reported revenues totaled $13.0 b...

Read more

Research points to a new treatment …

Researchers have shown how controlling cholesterol metabolism in pancreatic cancer cells reduces metastasis, pointing to a potential new treatment using drugs previously ...

Read more

'Mediterranean' diet linked to lowe…

A "Mediterranean" diet, high in fruit, vegetables, fish and unrefined foods, is linked to a lower risk of heart attack and stroke in people who already have heart disease...

Read more

AstraZeneca completes acquisition o…

AstraZeneca has completed the acquisition of the core respiratory business of Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited ("Takeda"). The agreement, announced in December 2015...

Read more

Why are women less likely to be pre…

Statins are equally effective at decreasing risk of coronary events in men and women, and yet women are less likely to be prescribed these cholesterol-lowering drugs than...

Read more

Grants4Apps Accelerator 2016: You i…

The Grants4Apps (G4A) Accelerator developed by Bayer invites health IT and technology startups to apply for the program's 2016 edition. This year, Bayer looks primarily i...

Read more

A faster and cheaper way to produce…

A novel way of synthesising a promising new antibiotic has been identified by scientists at the University of Bristol. By expressing the genes involved in the production ...

Read more

Digest World Pharma Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly Digest World Pharma Newsletter and stay updated on the latest World Pharma News. Subscribe now, it's free!

Pharmaceutical Companies

[ A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Z ]