Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Multi-tasking maggots in superbug showdown

06.08.2008
Scientists at Swansea University (Wales, UK) have discovered a new type of antibiotic in maggot secretions that can tackle up to 12 different strains of MRSA, as well as E. coli and C. difficile. The research was funded by leading charity Action Medical Research, with support from the Rosetrees Trust.

The antibiotic, named Seraticin™, is derived from the maggot secretions of the common green bottle fly (Lucilia sericata) and scientists hope to develop it into an injection, pill or ointment.

So far, they have purified Seraticin™ and undertaken the study of its structure and the mechanism by which it prevents infection. The next steps will be to complete the identification of the compound and develop a way to synthesise it. It can then be tested on human cells and eventually in clinical trials in order to determine its medical effectiveness and properties as a novel antibiotic.

MRSA infections cause suffering, amputations and death, not to mention the estimated £1 billion cost to the NHS. Between 2002 and 2006, 6,201 deaths in England and Wales involved MRSA and 15,683 deaths in England and Wales involved C. difficile. The rapid rise in antibiotic-resistant bacteria means that scientists urgently need to find a solution.

... more about:
»Infection »MRSA »antibiotic

Using live maggots on infected wounds is an age-old method of tackling infection and they work with amazing speed. It’s not uncommon for someone to suffer from chronic infected wounds for 18 months, despite all sorts of conventional treatment, but when maggots are applied to the same wound they can often begin to clear infection in just a few days. They have even been known to save people from having limbs amputated.

Dr Yolande Harley of Action Medical Research said: “The discovery of a potential new antibiotic is an exciting advance. It could mean a possible novel treatment for people with chronic wounds that are infected with MRSA or other bugs. By developing the pure antibiotic into a formula, such as a cream, it could reduce the contact patients need to have with live maggots to heal wounds. It could also offer a potential treatment, such as an injection or pill, for internal infections like C. difficile.”

Professor Norman Ratcliffe, a principal researcher on the project at Swansea University, said: “It has been a huge team effort to get to this level and I am delighted with our progress; however there is more to do if we are to realise the maximum benefits from this discovery. It takes approximately 20 mugs of maggots to yield just one drop of purified Seraticin™ at present. Thus, the next stage will be to confirm its exact identity using mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance analyses in order for us to produce this chemically on a larger scale. “

Dr Alun Morgan of ZooBiotic Ltd, based in Wales, that supplied the maggots for the project, said: “Maggots are great little multi-taskers. They produce enzymes that clean wounds, they make a wound more alkaline which may slow bacterial growth and finally they produce a range of antibacterial chemicals that stop the bacteria growing.”

Bethan Evans | alfa
Further information:
http://www.swansea.ac.uk

Further reports about: Infection MRSA antibiotic

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'
23.01.2018 | Rutgers University

nachricht Researchers identify a protein that keeps metastatic breast cancer cells dormant
23.01.2018 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Optical Nanoscope Allows Imaging of Quantum Dots

Physicists have developed a technique based on optical microscopy that can be used to create images of atoms on the nanoscale. In particular, the new method allows the imaging of quantum dots in a semiconductor chip. Together with colleagues from the University of Bochum, scientists from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute reported the findings in the journal Nature Photonics.

Microscopes allow us to see structures that are otherwise invisible to the human eye. However, conventional optical microscopes cannot be used to image...

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Rutgers scientists discover 'Legos of life'

23.01.2018 | Life Sciences

Seabed mining could destroy ecosystems

23.01.2018 | Earth Sciences

Transportable laser

23.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>