UC scientist patented treatment for stubborn pathogens
There may be a solution on the horizon to combating superbug infections resistant to antibiotics. The tenacious bacteria and fungi sicken more than 2.8 million people and lead to more than 35,000 deaths in the United States each year.
An international team of researchers has found that a combination of ingredients (acidified nitrite and ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid) known as AB569 and developed by a University of Cincinnati scientist kills a bacteria (Pseudomonas aeruginosa), one of the most serious pathogens that exhibits multidrug resistance and virulence.
Their findings are available online in the scholarly journal of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.
“AB569 kills these pathogenic bacteria by targeting their DNA, RNA and protein biosynthesis as well as energy and iron metabolism at concentrations that do not harm human cells,” explains Daniel Hassett, a professor in the UC Department of Molecular Genetics, Biochemistry and Microbiology. “These were tested in laboratory mice with humanized cells. Our data implicate that AB569 is a safe and effective means that could be applied to eradicate these superbugs.”
Pseudomonas aeruginosa was applied to the lungs of laboratory mice for five days. This pathogen in humans causes pulmonary infections in patients with cystic fibrosis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and many other opportunistic infections. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is considered one of six ESKAPE pathogens, known by their acronym and considered among the most resistant and deadly to humans.
The ESKAPE pathogens include Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacter spp. These ESKAPE pathogens typically result in hospital-acquired infections leading to illness such as pneumonia and MRSA infections. Urinary tract infections that are resistant to antibiotics are also among illnesses caused by these organisms.
These superbugs have an ingenious mechanism of being able to resist traditional antibiotic therapies by a vast number of acquired strategies. Antibiotics affect specific processes in the bacteria, but not all of them. AB569 affects multiple processes at once leaving the exposed bacteria simply overwhelmed.
Daniel Hassett, professor UC College of Medicine
“These superbugs have an ingenious mechanism of being able to resist traditional antibiotic therapies by a vast number of acquired strategies,” explains Hassett, also the paper’s senior author. “Antibiotics affect specific processes in the bacteria, but not all of them. AB569 affects multiple processes at once leaving the exposed bacteria simply overwhelmed.”
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