Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UTSA biology researchers demystify elusive war zone bacterium

19.08.2009
Acinetobacter baumannii causes mortality rates as high as 75 percent in Middle East

Tao Weitao, a researcher in the College of Sciences' Department of Biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio is making great strides in a project that was funded one year ago by the San Antonio Area Foundation.

The professor in the South Texas Center for Emerging Infectious Diseases is researching Acinetobacter baumannii, a soil-dwelling bacterium that threatens the health of military personnel in the Middle East and can also infect their family members once the soldiers have returned home following battle.

The symptoms of Acinetobacter infections are mild to severe and present in a variety of ways, but are mostly found in immunocompromised individuals. Signs may include urinary tract infections and respiratory infections post-surgery, pneumonia following health care treatment, bacteria in the blood, deep wound infections, bone and bone marrow infections, or skin and soft-tissue infection.

A year ago, very little was known about A. baumannii. Treatment of infected individuals was exceedingly difficult, because the bacterium was able to develop multi-drug resistance. Treatment was also impaired by the bacterium's ability to form biofilms: highly-resistant communities of bacteria which serve as a breeding ground for microorganisms infecting an individual.

In the last year, however, Weitao's collaborative research team has isolated proteins they believe help the bacterium form its biofilm. As the biologists continue their research, they hope to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms by which each protein helps A. baumannii propagate its deadly infections. Such an understanding will help develop effective therapeutic strategies to disrupt biofilm formation and diminish the risk of antimicrobial resistance emergence.

The San Antonio Area Foundation awarded funding to Weitao, in part, because San Antonio has such strong ties to the military.

"San Antonio has a proud history as a military city," said Retired Air Force Colonel Clarence R. "Reggie" Williams, president / CEO of the San Antonio Area Foundation. "The San Antonio Area Foundation is equally proud to partner with area donors in funding new medical research efforts impacting our military personnel and their families. Through innovative research and advancement, The University of Texas at San Antonio has successfully addressed many of the military community's most challenging health care needs. We're proud to support their efforts to 'make better lives' for everyone."

"Acinetobacter baumannii is an extremely threatening microbe that researchers desperately need to better understand," said Weitao. "Ultimately, we hope our research leads us to pathways we can target for the development of therapeutic or preventative strategies, that is effective antibiotics or vaccines, to keep the infection rate low."

Christi Fish | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.utsa.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Ambush in a petri dish
24.11.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

nachricht Meadows beat out shrubs when it comes to storing carbon
23.11.2017 | Norwegian University of Science and Technology

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: New proton record: Researchers measure magnetic moment with greatest possible precision

High-precision measurement of the g-factor eleven times more precise than before / Results indicate a strong similarity between protons and antiprotons

The magnetic moment of an individual proton is inconceivably small, but can still be quantified. The basis for undertaking this measurement was laid over ten...

Im Focus: Frictional Heat Powers Hydrothermal Activity on Enceladus

Computer simulation shows how the icy moon heats water in a porous rock core

Heat from the friction of rocks caused by tidal forces could be the “engine” for the hydrothermal activity on Saturn's moon Enceladus. This presupposes that...

Im Focus: Nanoparticles help with malaria diagnosis – new rapid test in development

The WHO reports an estimated 429,000 malaria deaths each year. The disease mostly affects tropical and subtropical regions and in particular the African continent. The Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC teamed up with the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME and the Institute of Tropical Medicine at the University of Tübingen for a new test method to detect malaria parasites in blood. The idea of the research project “NanoFRET” is to develop a highly sensitive and reliable rapid diagnostic test so that patient treatment can begin as early as possible.

Malaria is caused by parasites transmitted by mosquito bite. The most dangerous form of malaria is malaria tropica. Left untreated, it is fatal in most cases....

Im Focus: A “cosmic snake” reveals the structure of remote galaxies

The formation of stars in distant galaxies is still largely unexplored. For the first time, astron-omers at the University of Geneva have now been able to closely observe a star system six billion light-years away. In doing so, they are confirming earlier simulations made by the University of Zurich. One special effect is made possible by the multiple reflections of images that run through the cosmos like a snake.

Today, astronomers have a pretty accurate idea of how stars were formed in the recent cosmic past. But do these laws also apply to older galaxies? For around a...

Im Focus: Visual intelligence is not the same as IQ

Just because someone is smart and well-motivated doesn't mean he or she can learn the visual skills needed to excel at tasks like matching fingerprints, interpreting medical X-rays, keeping track of aircraft on radar displays or forensic face matching.

That is the implication of a new study which shows for the first time that there is a broad range of differences in people's visual ability and that these...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Ecology Across Borders: International conference brings together 1,500 ecologists

15.11.2017 | Event News

Road into laboratory: Users discuss biaxial fatigue-testing for car and truck wheel

15.11.2017 | Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

IceCube experiment finds Earth can block high-energy particles from nuclear reactions

24.11.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

A 'half-hearted' solution to one-sided heart failure

24.11.2017 | Health and Medicine

Heidelberg Researchers Study Unique Underwater Stalactites

24.11.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>