New Class of Antibiotics for MRSA

MRSA pic

The Mechelen, Belgium biotech company,Galapagos, says they discovered an entirely new class of antibiotics that may offer treatment against multiple drug-resistant infections, including 100% of all drug resistant Staphylococcus aureus, including MRSA,according to a company news release Nov. 26.

According to the release, the propriety antibiotic works by inhibiting the target DNA pol IIIα, an enzyme present in all bacteria and essential for their growth; this target is absent in humans. The novel mode of action – inhibition of DNA pol IIIα – may be used to explore a variety of novel antibiotics, targeting bacteria for which resistance to current antibiotics has emerged.

Using this novel target, Galapagos has selected a first candidate antibiotic, CAM-1, to enter drug development. CAM-1 was tested against more than 250 different bacterial strains and effectively killed 100% of all drug resistant S. aureus, including MRSA. CAM-1 shows better efficacy than standard antibiotics, as shown by in vivo bacterial infection models. Galapagos aims to enter the clinic in the first quarter 2014, with a Proof of Concept study thereafter.

Chief Scientific Officer of Galapagos, Dr. Piet Wigerinck said, “Our antibiotics have a novel mode of action which brings all tested MRSA strains to a complete halt. Combined with a diagnostic test, these compounds could bring a real solution to MRSA infections.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a type of staph bacteria that is resistant to certain antibiotics called beta-lactams. These antibiotics include methicillin and other more common antibiotics such as oxacillin, penicillin, and amoxicillin. In the community, most MRSA infections are skin infections. More severe or potentially life-threatening MRSA infections occur most frequently among patients in healthcare settings.

Treatment of MRSA may include incision, drainage (depending on the type of infection) and antibiotic therapy.

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Scorpion Venom Works against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria

MRSA v/s Scorpion Venom by Muhammad Adeel

Interesting bit of news was received when Virologists from China’s Wuhan University reported that they have a new weapon against the much trouble causing methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteria. This weapon is also against  or any of a number of rising microbes that show resistance to common antibiotics. The weapon happens to be quite a simple thing of all—scorpion venom.

On the molecular front, this has been achieved by extracting a peptide called BmKn2 from the venom of the scorpion Mesobuthus martensii Karsch. The peptide is then modified into another peptide called Kn2-7. The team was able to boost BmKn2’s natural antibacterial activity while decreasing the unwanted side effect of hemolysis. In vitro, Kn2-7 killed a variety of gram-positive and gram-negative strains of bacteria, including MRSA, a growing cause of hospital infections around the world. The peptide also successfully fought off skin infections in mice.

“They showed it’s possible to take this peptide and turn it into an antimicrobial peptide that can kill a broad range of bacteria that are harmful to humans,” immunologist Michael Zasloff of Georgetown University.

As far as the internal mechanism is concerned, it has been revealed that the peptide binds to the bacteria’s cell walls and causes them to burst. The most important notion in this regard is that  in contrast to previously tested peptides from scorpion venom, Kn2-7 caused significantly less damage to human red blood cells. The researchers reported their results last week (July 5) inPLoS ONE.

The image provided below shows the transmission electron microscopy of S. aureus bacteria with no treatment (top row), treated with the modified scorpion venom peptide (middle row), and treated with the original peptide (bottom row). Image: Cao et al (2012), PLoS ONE












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