May 8, 2013 at 6:39 pm #3291
UOW researchers in antibiotic breakthrough
By LISA WACHSMUTH
May 8, 2013, 4:05 a.m.
In ground-breaking work funded by the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, the researchers focused on the pathogens which are able to resist antibiotics treatments through the formation of biofilms.
“Biofilms occur when bacteria grow together as communities, usually on surfaces, encased within a protective polymeric blanket,” Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute researcher Dr Mike Kelso said.
“These bacterial ‘fortresses’ are the root cause of most chronic infections, including those occurring on medical devices.
“Sadly, there are no effective drugs for treating biofilm-based chronic infections.”
Dr Kelso, from the UOW’s School of Chemistry and Centre for Medicinal Chemistry, has worked with researchers from the University of NSW’s School of Biotechnology and Biomolecular Sciences, to engineer a new technology called “Trojan horse” drugs.
“These drugs are recognised by biofilm bacteria as dangerous and, to defend themselves, they produce an enzyme which would normally degrade the molecules leading to their inactivation,” he said.
When the bacteria degrade the Trojan horse molecules a second molecule called nitric oxide is released that tricks bacteria to leave and find somewhere else to live. The researchers have patented the new technology and entered into commercialisation discussions with two French pharmaceutical companies.
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