NOV 07, 2018 08:15 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 enjoys writing on various topics 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 15, 2018
Videos
SEP 15, 2018
A Hangover Cure in a Pill
A night of drinking can lead to a morning of regret for many people, but science is working on a solution for the physical pain....
NOV 08, 2018
Health & Medicine
NOV 08, 2018
Is Daily Aspirin Safe For Heart Attack Prevention
The benefits of aspirin use in patients with known cardiovascular disease (CVD) are well-established. A 2015 meta-analysis reviewed data gathered from 118,...
NOV 15, 2018
Drug Discovery
NOV 15, 2018
A Subclass of Anti-Aging Compounds Serves as Alzheimer's Drug Candidates
In a publication in Trends in Pharmacological Sciences, a subclass of anti-aging compounds, called geroneuroprotectors (GNPs), have been identified in rese...
DEC 17, 2018
Health & Medicine
DEC 17, 2018
Microglial Priming And Pain
Microglia are in primed states when injury happens and acute exposure to opioids activates them further creating pain sensitivity....
JAN 03, 2019
Health & Medicine
JAN 03, 2019
Antibiotic Resistance - A Global Health Threat
Antibiotics play a critical role in fighting off bacterial infections. Since the discovery of the first antibiotic, Penicillin, antibiotic treatment became an effective and safe tool which is...
JAN 07, 2019
Drug Discovery
JAN 07, 2019
First-in-Human Trial of Senolytic Drugs
According to a study published in the journal EBioMedicine, the very first results on the treatment of a deadly age-related disease in human patients using...
Loading Comments...