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September 14, 2006

Professor participates in landmark research; study published in New England Journal of Medicine

Ronda L. Akins, assistant professor of infectious diseases at ULM, recently contributed to a study that resulted in a new antibiotic approved by the FDA for Staphylococcus aureus infections.

In the study, which was published in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers determined that a new drug, daptomycin, is another viable treatment option for Staphylococcus aureus, a bacterium that can cause infection of the heart and blood. The drug was found to be as beneficial as standard therapies.

Akins, a site principal investigator, contributed to the study by enrolling and evaluating patients over a 28 to 42-day span. The international study was conducted in over 300 test sites throughout the U.S. and Europe. Akins' site was based out of Amarillo, Texas

"From the results of the study the FDA approved the new antibiotic (daptomycin) for use in those infections, which proves to be beneficial to patients by providing more treatment options," Akins said.

Akins' recent research opportunity was an important one, she said."I was very fortunate to be a part of this landmark study. This was the first study of its design to fully compare a new drug to standard treatment in Endocarditis (a heart infection that primarily affects the heart valves)."

The study, “Daptomycin Versus Standard Therapy for Bacteremia and Endocarditis Caused by Staphylococcus aureus,” is published in the Aug. 17, 2006 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

Her current research projects are at the pre-clinical stage (basic laboratory research). They consist of evaluating various antibiotic regimens against bacteria that demonstrate resistance to multiple antibiotics.

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