Sussex scientist makes MRSA treatment breakthrough with synthetic antibiotic
A groundbreaking new treatment to combat the hospital killer bug MRSA, which is estimated to cause up to 5,000 deaths a year in Britain, is being developed by a University of Sussex scientist.
Philip Parsons, a professor of organic chemistry, has devised a simple "one-pot" method to make a synthetic version of a natural antibiotic, lactonamycin, which could be used to treat infected patients. He has now received a £280,000 grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council towards developing a series of lactonamycin-like substances.
Professor Parsons explains: "The most important thing hospitals can do to fight MRSA is to improve ward cleanliness. But we still need new antibiotics to combat the bug when it arises. "We know that lactonamycin, a naturally occurring antibiotic, can kill MRSA. But it is has not been available as a drug therapy, partly due to its novelty and complexity. We are looking at a simple way to synthesise the antibiotic and its compounds, which could also be highly effective in the fight against infection."
The search for new antibiotics active against "super bugs" such as MRSA is of paramount importance because of the increasing problems faced by hospitals in treating drug-resistant bacterial infections. The latest Government figures estimate that up to 100,000 people catch an infection in UK hospitals every year, with the elderly and the very young most at risk of complications and death.
Research has shown that lactonamycin, an extract of the bacteria Streptomyces rishiriensis, is active against MRSA (methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus).
Naturally occurring chemicals, such as lactonamycin, often have complex molecular structures and are difficult to synthesise because the process usually involves many chemical steps. Professor Parsons has discovered a "one-pot" method - known as cascade reaction - during which several reactions take place at once.
"This is a very exciting discovery," adds Professor Parsons. "It will be important not just for producing lactonamycin, but for making other compounds, natural products and drug substances more efficiently."
The most recent press releases about innovation >>>
Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...