New Research is Sounding Promising!

There is a trickle of new “out of the box” thinking when it comes to tacking the superbug crisis. Many drug companies have given up on antibiotic research as they state it is too time consuming and not cost effective. This has led some research institutes and universities to try alternative treatments to eradicate antibiotic resistant pathogens.

Bacteriophage Therapy

bacteriophage
A virus cell

A bacteriophage is a particular type of virus cell that infects bacteria. There are many types of phage cells

This receptor structure is so specific that a  phage can only attack bacteria having a cell surface that exactly “matches”. After adsorption to the bacterial surface, the phage injects its nucleic acid into the bacterium that will now be forced to produce a new phage generation by using the bacterial enzyme equipment. This therapy has been used overseas with moderate success and has recently been adopted for clinical trials in the United States. To date two companies are producing these “phage cocktails”.

New Immune System Enhancer

Microscopic view of bacterial pneumonia.

Researchers at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania fused part of an existing antibiotic with a molecule that attracts antibodies unleashed by the immune system to fight invaders such as bacteria. This uses a patients healthy immune system to attack pathogens in the bloodstream and makes the immunity enzymes stronger. Think of it as Gatorade for your immune system.

This is accomplished by fusing an antibiotic with a molecule that attracts the immune cells and they go to work immediately.

Quorum Sensing

Image result for quorum sensing

Quorum sensing is the regulation of gene expression in response to fluctuations in cell-population density. The more bacteria that are gathered, the more they “talk” to each other. Quorum sensing bacteria produce and release chemical signal molecules called autoinducers that increase in concentration as a function of cell density. The detection of a minimal threshold stimulatory concentration of an autoinducer leads to an alteration in gene expression. This can alter the DNA of a bacterium and kill it. Hpow great to tell bacteria to commit suicide. Quorum sensing has been around since the 1960’s but lately rediscovered as antibiotics are losing.

These are just a few of the innovations that are coming about. But this does not mean that hospitals and health care centers should relax on infection control. We need a multi pronged solution to a growing crisis!

 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11544353

018/jul/05/new-drug-uses-immune-system-to-wipe-out-deadly-bacteria

 

 

 

 

 

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