"The killing mechanism involves destabilising the bacterial membrane and binding onto the bacteria's DNA, which in both cases results in the death of the bacteria. We have also shown that the substance can activate the human body's own immune cells, strengthening its defence against bacteria during infection," says Rasmus Jahnsen.
Pharmaceutical industry lacks interest in antibiotics
The researchers have tested the new substance on bacteria-infected tissue and the results show that it possesses several characteristics that make it highly attractive in connection with the possible development of new antibiotics.
"It's the first step to developing a new drug. We hope that in collaboration with partners we can conduct a series of tests in the near future to show that the substance can actually combat an infection in a mammal. If we achieve the same results in animals, we will have a potential sensation on our hands," adds Rasmus Jahnsen.
Jahnsen believes the pharmaceutical industry needs to become more actively involved.
"Only a tiny fraction of the pharmaceutical research is devoted to development of new antibiotics partly because research into cancer and chronic diseases such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases are seen as better long-term investments. This leaves us in the extremely unfortunate situation where infectious diseases once again pose extremely serious threats to human health as the efficacy of medical drugs continues to be undermined by bacterial resistance. It is therefore important to conduct more research into new antibiotics," concludes Rasmus Jahnsen.
|Contact: Rasmus Jahnsen|
University of Copenhagen