New hope against antibiotic resistance

Schematic diagram of a liposome. Antimicrobial compounds would be contained in the Water Core

Schematic diagram of a liposome. Antimicrobial compounds would be contained in the water core

Part of the problem with treating with antibiotics is ensuring that the drug makes it to where it needs to act. The compounds will need to travel from the site of administration through the body to the site of infection, and finding the microbe can be a challenge. Brittany Reichelt (11 AM Micro) brings us another in a series of options in the war against antibiotic resistance, which can offer us a possible answer tothis problem.

This is a summary from Science Daily “Possible alternative to antibiotics.” Antibiotic resistance is a real concern: what if all the bacteria become resistant to antibiotics, what if I get an infection with bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics? Antibiotic resistance grows every time we use an antibiotic, it has been growing for 90 years since Penicillin was first used. In society today, bacteria are now becoming resistant to multiple antibiotics. This is causing great concern because infections from scrapes, surgeries, or “non-fatal” diseases, which are normally treated with antibiotics, will be causing deaths.

Eduard Babiychuk and Annette Draeger completed research at the University of Bern in Switzerland. These scientists developed a substance that could have the potential to offer a different strategy against bacterial infections. Antibiotics target the bacterial cell and kill it off. The substance developed does not directly target the bacteria. This substance was created by “engineering artificial nanoparticles made of lipids, liposomes that closely resemble the membrane of host cells.” The liposomes are sneaky; they lure the bacteria toxins in, not the bacteria body directly Bacteria without the toxins will not be able to fight against the host’s immune system. Therefore, the host will not be harmed because their immune system will easily get rid of the bacteria. The importance of this drug is that it will treat bacterial infections, but it is not an antibiotic and will not aid in the antibiotic resistance that is increasing among bacteria.

Normally liposomes are used clinically to deliver drugs and certain drugs to the body. Instead these scientists are using them as bait for the toxins on the bacteria, which are attracted to them. Researchers have studied these liposomes in mice that had fatal septicemia. The results showed that the mice survived with no need for any other antibiotics. This research offers great hope against antibiotic resistance, but needs to be studied in humans first.

This study was also published in the Journal Nature, which can be viewed at this link.

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About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on November 6, 2014, in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

  1. This was an interesting article and points out a great solution to a potentially big problem. Doctors used to be very quick to issue an antibiotic to a patient, not realizing that he/she was causing an even bigger issue — resistance to antibiotics. This is kinds of like what is happening with the antibacterial hand sanitizers.

    I remember when I was growing up I used to suffer from ear infections. According to my mother, at first the Dr used to prescribe amoxicillin. Getting 4 or 5 infections a year made me familiar with taking the antibiotic. However, as I got older, I still got the ear infections but was put on a different antibiotic. I remember asking my mom why the doctor has changed the medicine and she said that the amoxicillin no longer worked for me and I had to move to something stronger. Suffering with ear infections for 9 or 10 years forced me to change antibiotics three or four times because the Dr said that the others were no longer strong enough and my body was resistant to it.

    This new solution described in the article will be a great benefit to healthcare.

  2. Gracen Schilling

    This article was very interesting. Since we were talking about how antibiotic resistance is a thing we need to be worried about, finding a way to fight bacteria off without causing a resistance could be very useful. Since it only draws in the toxins from the bacteria and does not attack the bacteria it self it seems to me that the good bacteria would not be affected so the host would not have any side effects. This could be fundamental for our future medical care if it works on humans as well as it did on mice.

  3. The idea of anibiotic resistance seems like an interesting topic. I find it amazing how bacteria can mutate itself so that it can not easily be killed, a method that is harmful to the host of the virus. If this new treatment works in trapping the toxins, our health care industry will greatly benefit. People will not have to worry about taking different antibiotics to prevent a resistance, and antibiotic resistance can be prevented. With this discovery, hopefully hospitals won’t be seeing many more cases like the ones seen in the documentary during class.

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