Sunday, 4 March 2018

'Forgotten' antibiotic offers hope against superbugs


An antibiotic overlooked since its discovery 40 years ago could help develop new drugs against life-threatening infections caused by some of the world's most dangerous superbugs.

University of Queensland Institute for Molecular Bioscience (IMB) researchers synthesised the antibiotic, and increased its effectiveness against extensively drug-resistant bacteria, then collaborated with Monash University to evaluate the drug using animal models of infection.

Professor Matt Cooper, Director of IMB's Centre for Superbug Solutions, said the study was prompted by the urgent need for new drugs to counter widespread resistance to last-resort treatments.

"Octapeptins were discovered in the late 1970s but were not selected for development at the time, as there was an abundance of new antibiotics with thousands of people working in antibiotic research and development," Professor Cooper said.

"Given the very few researchers left in this field now, and the sparse pipeline for new antibiotics, we've used modern drug discovery procedures to re-evaluate its effectiveness against superbugs."

Professor Cooper said there were no new classes of antibiotics available for Gram-negative bacteria, with increasing incidence of extensive drug resistance around the world.

See:

Tony Velkov, Alejandra Gallardo-Godoy, James D. Swarbrick et al Structure, Function, and Biosynthetic Origin of Octapeptin Antibiotics Active against Extensively Drug-Resistant Gram-Negative BacteriaCell Chemical Biology, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.chembiol.2018.01.005

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle

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