Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers discover new treatment to cure the MRSA ‘superbug’

14.11.2013
Recent work from Uni­ver­sity Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor of Biology Kim Lewis promises to over­come one of the leading public health threats of our time.

In a ground­breaking study pub­lished Wednesday in the journal Nature, Lewis’ team presents a novel approach to treat and elim­i­nate methi­cillin resis­tant staphy­lo­coccus aureus, or MRSA, a potent bac­terium whose resis­tance to antibi­otics has kept it one step ahead of researchers. That is, until now.

The so-​​called “superbug” infects 1 mil­lion Amer­i­cans each year. A major problem with MRSA is the devel­op­ment of deep-​​seated chronic infec­tions such as osteomyelitis (bone infec­tion), endo­carditis (heart infec­tion), or infec­tions of implanted med­ical devices. Once estab­lished, these infec­tions are often incur­able, even when appro­priate antibi­otics are used.

Bac­teria such as MRSA have evolved to actively resist cer­tain antibi­otics, a fact that has gen­er­ated sig­nif­i­cant interest among the sci­en­tific and med­ical com­mu­ni­ties. But Lewis, Director of Northeastern’s Antimi­cro­bial Dis­covery Center, sus­pected that a dif­ferent adap­tive func­tion of bac­teria might be the true cul­prit in making these infec­tions so devastating.

The new work rep­re­sents the cul­mi­na­tion of more than a decade of research on a spe­cial­ized class of cells pro­duced by all pathogens called per­sis­ters. According to Lewis, these cells evolved to sur­vive. “Sur­vival is their only func­tion,” he said. “They don’t do any­thing else.”

Lewis and his research team posited that if they could kill these expert sur­vivors, per­haps they could cure chronic infections—even those resis­tant to mul­tiple antibi­otics such as MRSA. Fur­ther­more, said Brian Conlon, a post­doc­toral researcher in Lewis’ lab and first author on the paper, “if you can erad­i­cate the per­sis­ters, there’s less of a chance that resis­tance will develop at all.”

Lewis, who was elected to the Amer­ican Academy of Micro­bi­ology in 2011 for his schol­ar­ship in the field, has found that per­sis­ters achieve their sin­gular goal by entering a dor­mant state that makes them imper­vious to tra­di­tional antibi­otics. Since these drugs work by tar­geting active cel­lular func­tions, they are use­less against dor­mant per­sis­ters, which aren’t active at all. For this reason, per­sis­ters are crit­ical to the suc­cess of chronic infec­tions and biofilms, because as soon as a treat­ment runs its course, their reawak­ening allows for the infec­tion to estab­lish itself anew.

In the recent study, which also includes con­tri­bu­tions from assis­tant pro­fessor Steve Leonard of the Depart­ment of Phar­macy Prac­tice, Lewis’ team found that a drug called ADEP effec­tively wakes up the dor­mant cells and then ini­ti­ates a self-​​destruct mech­a­nism. The approach com­pletely erad­i­cated MRSA cells in a variety of lab­o­ra­tory exper­i­ments and, impor­tantly, in a mouse model of chronic MRSA infection.

Cou­pling ADEP with a tra­di­tional antibi­otic, Conlon noted, allowed the team to com­pletely destroy the bac­te­rial pop­u­la­tion without leaving any survivors.

As with all other antibi­otics, actively growing bac­te­rial cells will likely develop resis­tance to ADEP. How­ever, Lewis said, “cells that develop ADEP resis­tance become rather wimpy.” That is, other tra­di­tional drugs such as rifampicin or line­zolid work well against ADEP-​​resistant cells, pro­viding a unique cock­tail that not only kills per­sis­ters but also elim­i­nates ADEP-​​resistant mutant bacteria.

Dr. Richard Novick of New York University’s Lan­gone Med­ical Center and a leader in the field said the research is a “bril­liant out­growth of Kim Lewis’ pio­neering work on bac­te­rial per­sis­ters and rep­re­sents a highly cre­ative ini­tia­tive in this era of dimin­ishing antibi­otic utility.”

While ADEP tar­gets MRSA, Lewis’ team believes sim­ilar com­pounds will be useful for treating other infec­tions as well as any other dis­ease model that can only be over­come by elim­i­nating a pop­u­la­tion of rogue cells, including can­cerous tumors. They are pur­suing sev­eral already.

This entry was posted in Science & Technology and tagged antibiotic-resistance, biology, chronic infection, College of Science, microbiology, MRSA, persister cells, research.

Kara Shemin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.neu.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Laser activated gold pyramids could deliver drugs, DNA into cells without harm
24.03.2017 | Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences

nachricht What does congenital Zika syndrome look like?
24.03.2017 | University of California - San Diego

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>