Scientists develop a fatty 'kryptonite' to defeat multidrug-resistant 'Super bugs'

Jun 16, 2011

"Super bugs," which can cause wide-spread disease and may be resistant to most, if not all, conventional antibiotics, still have their weaknesses. A team of Canadian scientists discovered that specific mixtures of antimicrobial agents presented in lipid (fatty) mixtures can significantly boost the effectiveness of those agents to kill the resistant bacteria. This discovery was published online in The FASEB Journal.

According to a researcher involved in the study, Richard Epand, Ph.D. from the Department of Biochemistry and Biomedical Science at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, "This study may contribute to overcoming the lethal effects of that is becoming an increasing clinical problem, particularly in hospitals."

To make their discovery, Epand and colleagues conducted experiments using groups of mice infected with lethal doses of multidrug-resistant Escherichia coli (E. coli). Researchers then treated the mice with conventional drug combinations or encapsulated in lipid mixtures. They found that certain lipid mixtures caused the drugs to act together in a synergistic manner. In this form, the drugs were much more effective in increasing the survival rate of the mice because they overcame the used by these bacteria to defeat therapeutic agents. This study also demonstrated a novel use of a new family of antimicrobial agents called oligo-acyl-lysyls, which have the potential to be combined with other drugs and lipid mixtures with similar properties to yield a platform for other specific applications.

"As we've seen in the recent E.Coli outbreak in Germany, bacteria can mutate to become super bugs that resist antibiotics," said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The , "Thanks to this new, lipid-based antibiotic therapy. multidrug-resistant bacteria may begin to look more like Jimmy Olsen and a lot less like Superman."

Explore further: Top Japan lab dismisses ground-breaking stem cell study

More information: Hadar Sarig, Dafna Ohana, Raquel F. Epand, Amram Mor, and Richard M. Epand. Functional studies of cochleate assemblies of an oligo-acyl-lysyl with lipid mixtures for combating bacterial multidrug resistance. FASEB J; doi:10.1096/fj.11-183764

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

New antibiotic beats superbugs at their own game

Jul 03, 2008

The problem with antibiotics is that, eventually, bacteria outsmart them and become resistant. But by targeting the gene that confers such resistance, a new drug may be able to finally outwit them. Rockefeller ...

Recommended for you

Top Japan lab dismisses ground-breaking stem cell study

Dec 26, 2014

Japan's top research institute on Friday hammered the final nail in the coffin of what was once billed as a ground-breaking stem cell study, dismissing it as flawed and saying the work could have been fabricated.

Research sheds light on what causes cells to divide

Dec 24, 2014

When a rapidly-growing cell divides into two smaller cells, what triggers the split? Is it the size the growing cell eventually reaches? Or is the real trigger the time period over which the cell keeps growing ...

Locking mechanism found for 'scissors' that cut DNA

Dec 24, 2014

Researchers at Johns Hopkins have discovered what keeps an enzyme from becoming overzealous in its clipping of DNA. Since controlled clipping is required for the production of specialized immune system proteins, ...

Scrapie could breach the species barrier

Dec 24, 2014

INRA scientists have shown for the first time that the pathogens responsible for scrapie in small ruminants (prions) have the potential to convert the human prion protein from a healthy state to a pathological ...

Extracting bioactive compounds from marine microalgae

Dec 24, 2014

Microalgae can produce high value health compounds like omega-3s , traditionally sourced from fish. With declining fish stocks, an alternative source is imperative. Published in the Pertanika Journal of Tr ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.