Presentiation and Invitation to join ISAAN: International Society of Non-antibiotics (ISN)

Dear Colleagues,

The use and misuse of antibiotics between 1960 and 1990 resulted in the ever increasing resistance of bacterial pathogens to two or more antibiotics (multi-drug resistance = mdr). By 1990 it became clear that regardless of the new and effective antibiotics, predictable resistance would soon follow, and much of this resistance, when studied, was clearly of a mdr phenotype and not due to chromosomal mutation. Nowhere is there a better example of this process than the experience with the introduction of fluoroquinolones and the rapid wide spread resistance to this antibiotic by staphylococci. Ditto for tetracycline and other antibiotics for Gram-negatives.

The success of a “non-antibiotic” clavulinic acid employed as a “helper compound” to beta lactam antibiotics for the inhibition of beta lactamases that would otherwise degrade the beta lactam, supported the concept that other “non-antibiotics” could perhaps be used in combination with common antibiotics for the management of antibiotic resistance infections. Research prior to the 1990’s suggested that resistance of some bacteria to given antibiotics could indeed be reduced and even eliminated by some common, medical compounds, such as phenothiazines and the related thioxanthenes and other membrane stabilizing agents. As a result of this innovative research sporadically conducted by independent groups world-wide, the first International Conference on the antimicrobial activities of “non-antibiotics” took place on 27 May 1990 in Copenhagen, Denmark.

The success of this conference was rapidly followed by the creation of the International Society of Antimicrobial Activity of Non-Antibiotics on 30 May 1990 at STATENS SERUM INSTITUT in Copenhagen DENMARK, our society was associated to the International Society of Chemotherapy ISC in Canada in 1995 and incorporated into the Federation of European Societies of Chemotherapy and Infection (FESCI) in 1998. Since that time the society changed its name to the International Society of Non-Antibiotics (ISN) and and each time it has conducted annual or semi-annual meetings, has organized symposia for ISC and FESCI, European Congress of Chemotherapy (ECC) and International Society of Chemotherapy. As a consequence of these activities and also thanks to the major discoveries demonstrating the cause of MDR, not least involvement of the over-expression of efflux pumps, interest in ISN has grown. The mission of ISN is now completely compatible with MDR and the search for the efflux pump inhibitors (EPIs) and for reversal of resistance in general.

The affiliation of the members of ISN with ISC, FESCI and the different COST Project BM 16 title, ATENS title and the Non- antibiotic working group in P.E.G. and now also COST ACTION title after 1990 is a natural outcome of the international search for new antibiotics, the new EPIs to be developed as “helper compounds”.

The affiliation of ISN to ISC and European societies of infectious diseases via FESCI means that the scientific productivity has become more visible to the infectious disease communities of Europe and worldwide. In addition, a number of working groups and different COST Projects, latest the COST Project, and now the close connection with has contributed to the increased awareness. ISN was born at what we would have called Statens Husholdningsråd for antibiotic investigations (The Antibiotic Department at Statens Serum Institut 1902-1992).

The society will again have its close connections with the History of Microbiology in Copenhagen where it was born in the Antibiotic Department at Statens Seruminstitut 1990. (The Department was established by the grandson of Bernhard Bang, Dr. Jørgen Bang and as always in close connection with the worldwide microbiological challenges in human and veterinary microbiology).

REVERSAL OF ANTIBIOTIC RESISTANCE BY THE USE OF Non-Antibiotics. Join ISN! You can read more about us on