Now, scientists at The University of Nottingham are leading a new pilot study to see if the pungent bulb could also hold the key to preventing cystic fibrosis patients from falling foul of a potentially-fatal infection.
The research will look at whether taking garlic capsules can disrupt the communication system of the pathogen Pseudomonas to prevent illness from taking hold.
The project will unite University experts in child health, respiratory medicine and molecular microbiology with clinicians at the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited condition that affects around 7,000 people in the UK, half of whom are children. The disease causes difficulties in digesting food and children may be slow to put on weight and grow properly. Both children and adults with the condition are vulnerable to repeated and chronic chest infections which damage the lungs and which may, ultimately, be fatal.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa is one of the most common causes of chronic infection in CF patients. Current treatment aims to eradicate it when it first appears. If the infection becomes established it may be suppressed with antibiotic nebulisers. However, these have a major impact on quality of life for the patient because they are time-consuming (given twice a day, every day, for life) and often the patient still has to be admitted to hospital for more intensive treatment.
During the study, half the volunteer CF patients will be given garlic capsules, while the other half will receive a placebo (olive oil capsules) over a two month period. At the beginning and end of the study, researchers will measure the levels of germs in patients' sputum samples, the patients' lung function and weight will be monitored and blood tests carried out to ensure the garlic capsules are safe.
Dr Alan Smyth of the University's School of Human Development, who is leading the project, said: “The garlic components inhibit a bacterial communication system called quorum sensing (QS). This is responsible for the germ forming tenacious colonies in the lungs called 'biofilms'. The QS molecules also switch on bacterial weapons such as 'elastase', an enzyme which breaks down elastic tissue in the lung.
“The beauty of this approach is that we may be able to render the germ harmless without killing it. If we use a conventional antibiotic which kills the Pseudomonas, there will always be some survivors, some of which may develop antibiotic resistance. The trick is not to allow Pseudomonas to use natural selection as a weapon against us.”
The study is funded by the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust and The University of Nottingham, with garlic capsules supplied by the Nottingham-based company Boots.
Among Dr Smyth's collaborators on the project at The University of Nottingham are Dr David Barrett in the School of Pharmacy, Dr Alan Knox in the School of Medical and Surgical Sciences and Professor Paul Williams, Dr Miguel Camara and Dr Karima Righetti — an EU-funded Marie Curie fellow — in the School of Molecular Medical Sciences.
Dr Alan Smyth | EurekAlert!
Collagen nanofibrils in mammalian tissues get stronger with exercise
14.12.2018 | University of Illinois College of Engineering
New discoveries predict ability to forecast dementia from single molecule
12.12.2018 | UT Southwestern Medical Center
The more objects we make "smart," from watches to entire buildings, the greater the need for these devices to store and retrieve massive amounts of data quickly without consuming too much power.
Millions of new memory cells could be part of a computer chip and provide that speed and energy savings, thanks to the discovery of a previously unobserved...
What if, instead of turning up the thermostat, you could warm up with high-tech, flexible patches sewn into your clothes - while significantly reducing your...
A widely used diabetes medication combined with an antihypertensive drug specifically inhibits tumor growth – this was discovered by researchers from the University of Basel’s Biozentrum two years ago. In a follow-up study, recently published in “Cell Reports”, the scientists report that this drug cocktail induces cancer cell death by switching off their energy supply.
The widely used anti-diabetes drug metformin not only reduces blood sugar but also has an anti-cancer effect. However, the metformin dose commonly used in the...
A research team from the University of Zurich has developed a new drone that can retract its propeller arms in flight and make itself small to fit through narrow gaps and holes. This is particularly useful when searching for victims of natural disasters.
Inspecting a damaged building after an earthquake or during a fire is exactly the kind of job that human rescuers would like drones to do for them. A flying...
Over the last decade, there has been much excitement about the discovery, recognised by the Nobel Prize in Physics only two years ago, that there are two types...
12.12.2018 | Event News
10.12.2018 | Event News
06.12.2018 | Event News
14.12.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy
14.12.2018 | Physics and Astronomy