NOV 07, 2018 8:15 AM PST

Modifying Antibiotics For Drug Resistant Infections

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Credit: CancerCenter.com

In a study published in Nature Chemistry, researches at MIT were able to create a new chemical reaction that has the ability to modify antibiotics to make them more effective against drug-resistant infections.

One example demonstrated is the antibiotic vancomycin which was chemically linked to an antimicrobial peptide and was able to dramatically enhance the antibiotic’s effectiveness against two strains of drug-resistant bacteria.

"Typically, a lot of steps would be needed to get vancomycin in a form that would allow you to attach it to something else, but we don't have to do anything to the drug," says an MIT associate professor of chemistry and senior of the study--Brad Pentelute. "We just mix them together and we get a conjugation reaction."

The novel reaction could be used to alter other types of drugs, particularly onco-drugs.

The researchers found that in linking up these peptides with vancomycin, the chemical bonds were consistent in occurring at the same location resulting in molecules that were identical. Existing tools for linking complex molecules make it difficult to produce a pure product. However, the attachment of drugs to an antibody or another targeting protein will make it easier for these drugs to reach their target.

“By chemically linking the antibiotic vancomycin to two different antimicrobial peptides, MIT researchers were able to dramatically enhance the drug’s effectiveness against two strains of drug-resistant bacteria: A. baumannii and E. faecalis.” –ScienceDaily

 Credit: Image: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

"That's the beauty of this method," says MIT postdoc Chi Zhang. "These complex molecules intrinsically possess regions that can be harnessed to conjugate to our protein, if the protein possesses the selenocysteine handle that we developed. It can greatly simplify the process."

Additionally, the researchers hope that through the modifications of antibiotics—it can be used for the development of cancer drugs. Their study can be use to create effective cancer drugs that will reach their targeted destination without cause debilitating effects to healthy tissue.

Source: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

About the Author
  • Nouran earned her BS and MS in Biology at IUPUI and currently shares her love of science by teaching. She enjoys writing on various topics as well including science & medicine, global health, and conservation biology. She hopes through her writing she can make science more engaging and communicable to the general public.
You May Also Like
SEP 27, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
SEP 27, 2020
THC Shows Promise in Treating Severe Cases of COVID-19
Over the last few months, various headlines have emerged suggesting the potential for cannabinoids, and in particular, c ...
SEP 30, 2020
Cancer
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
SEP 30, 2020
Chemokines Could be the Key in Controlling Glioma Stem Cells
The transformation of a healthy cell into a cancerous one often comes with a slew of cellular signaling changes.  T ...
NOV 09, 2020
Microbiology
Fighting COVID-19 with Help From Llamas
NOV 09, 2020
Fighting COVID-19 with Help From Llamas
Camelids, which include llamas, alpacas and camels have immune systems that generate two kinds of antibodies when confro ...
NOV 20, 2020
Drug Discovery & Development
Cat Parasite Gives Clues on New Drug Targets for Schizophrenia
NOV 20, 2020
Cat Parasite Gives Clues on New Drug Targets for Schizophrenia
Researchers from the UK and France have discussed a mechanism of action behind the infamous Toxoplasma gondii  ...
NOV 22, 2020
Cannabis Sciences
Public Believes CBD is Cure-All Despite Lack of Evidence
NOV 22, 2020
Public Believes CBD is Cure-All Despite Lack of Evidence
Many people think that cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive compound in cannabis, can reduce symptoms from various cond ...
NOV 25, 2020
Immunology
The History of Vaccines
NOV 25, 2020
The History of Vaccines
Everyone worldwide is sitting with anticipation, waiting for the right vaccine candidate for the coronavirus outbreak, h ...
Loading Comments...