Friday, 20 October 2017

Bacterial in-fighting provides new treatment for hospital infections


A bacteria that is a leading cause of death worldwide from hospital acquired infections following antibiotic treatment looks set to be brought down through its own sibling rivalry. New research from the University of Sheffield shows that Different strains of Clostridium difficile (C. diff) use tiny weapons to kill each other, and scientists from the UK and US have discovered how these work, enabling them to be engineered into an antimicrobial agent with the potential to prevent or cure C. diff infection.

Further study has shown when C. diff develops a resistance to these weapons, the bacteria can no longer cause infection, making them harmless. Like many bacteria, C. diff can make a weapon that is able to identify and kill competing C. diff strains. This weapon attaches to the surface of other C. diff cells and fires a harpoon-type needle through their membrane, causing the cell to die. The researchers have managed to engineer this weapon so that it can be mass produced in a stable form as a potential treatment or preventative for C. diff infections.

See:

Joseph A. Kirk, Dana Gebhart, Anthony M. Buckley, Stephen Lok, Dean Scholl, Gillian R. Douce, Gregory R. Govoni, Robert P. Fagan. New class of precision antimicrobials redefines role of Clostridium difficile S-layer in virulence and viabilityScience Translational Medicine, 2017; 9 (406): eaah6813 DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aah6813

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle