Scientists from the John Innes Centre have proven that by taking a short stretch of DNA from a bacterium and delivering it with an existing antibiotic they can switch off antibiotic resistance.
Together with technology transfer company PBL, the scientists have launched a spin-out company, Procarta Biosystems Ltd, to develop the technology.
“The DNA sequence acts as a decoy, disrupting gene expression and blocking resistance”, said Dr Michael McArthur from JIC.
“We are putting genetic information directly into drugs. This is the first application of a DNA based therapy”.
The scientists have also patented a way of discovering decoys in bacteria without necessarily having to know the genes involved. This means they can develop effective new drugs against any bacterium within a couple of years and at a fraction of the normal cost.
The technology can give fresh patent life to existing antibiotics - when combined with a decoy they can be patented as a new drug.
This comes at a time when the number of new antibiotics receiving approval has dramatically declined. Faced with antibiotic resistance the pharmaceutical industry is unlikely to be able to deliver new products.
“Natural resistance will always be hot on the heels of a new antibiotic because they co-evolve”, said Dr McArthur. “Ours’ is not a traditional pharmaceutical approach and provides a completely new challenge to bacteria”.
The technology can also be used to improve the production of antibiotics by bacteria and to produce enzymes and other compounds using bacteria for use in industrial processes.
Many industrial processes are harsh and unsustainable, using petrochemicals, high temperatures and creating toxic by-products. In industrial biotechnology, also called “white biotechnology”, bacteria make medically and commercially important compounds biologically.
“By using bacteria, many industrial processes could be cleaned up”, said Dr McArthur.
The Procarta scientists found that the bacterium Streptomyces produces a particularly high yield of enzymes and proteins. Unusually, it can also secrete the proteins it produces so they do not have to be extracted.
“Streptomyces is the enzyme producing bacterium with bells and whistles, set to make a major contribution to a market already predicted to be worth £400 million by 2010”, said Dr McArthur.
We use the products of white biotechnology in our everyday lives. They contribute to ingredients in the food we eat, energy we use that has been generated with renewable biomass rather than fossil fuels, medicines we take, and everyday products such as detergents, paint and paper.
Zoe Dunford | alfa
New data unearths pesticide peril in beehives
21.04.2017 | Cornell University
New rice fights off drought
04.04.2017 | RIKEN
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
Two researchers at Heidelberg University have developed a model system that enables a better understanding of the processes in a quantum-physical experiment...
Glaciers might seem rather inhospitable environments. However, they are home to a diverse and vibrant microbial community. It’s becoming increasingly clear that they play a bigger role in the carbon cycle than previously thought.
A new study, now published in the journal Nature Geoscience, shows how microbial communities in melting glaciers contribute to the Earth’s carbon cycle, a...
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
03.04.2017 | Event News
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
21.04.2017 | Health and Medicine
21.04.2017 | Physics and Astronomy