NEW YORK (Dec. 27, 2007) -- Over the course of the 20th Century, doctors waged war against infectious bacterial illness with the best new weapon they had: antibiotics.
But the emergence of dangerous, multi-drug resistant strains of tuberculosis and other killer infections means that in the 21st century antibiotics are losing ground against bacterial disease.
Now, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City say exciting new molecular targets -- so-called "virulence factors" that bacteria use to thrive once they are in the host -- present an alternative, potent means of stopping TB, leprosy and other bacterial illness.
"We have developed the first inhibitor of a key small molecule from Mycobacterium tuberculosis and Mycobacterium leprae (which causes leprosy) utilized to subvert human host's defenses and damage and invade human host's cells during infection," explains study senior author Dr. Luis Quadri, Associate Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Weill Cornell.
"With this work, we now have proof of principle for the inhibition of this virulence factor in bacteria cultured in the lab. Our next step is to explore whether this inhibitor can stop these pathogens from multiplying in a mouse host, curtailing infection," Dr. Quadri says.
The findings -- published online today in Chemistry and Biology and appearing in the journal's Jan. 26 print edition -- highlight what Dr. Quadri has called a "paradigm shift" in infectious disease research.
"We are moving beyond antimicrobials such as antibiotics, which kill the bacterium directly, to anti-infectives, that may have no effect against the pathogen in the test tube but which do compromise its ability to infect and spread in the host," he explains. "We believe that the expansion of the drug armamentarium to include such anti-infective drugs could help the fight against multi-drug resistant infection that has become such a challenge tod
|Contact: Andrew Klein|
New York- Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center/Weill Cornell Medical College