Navigation Links
Northeastern researchers have discovered a new treatment to cure MRSA infection
Date:11/13/2013

Recent work from University Distinguished Professor of Biology Kim Lewis promises to overcome one of the leading public health threats of our time. In a groundbreaking study published Wednesday in the journal Nature, Lewis' team presents a novel approach to treat and eliminate methicillin resistant staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, a potent bacterium whose resistance to antibiotics has kept it one step ahead of researchers. That is, until now.

The so-called "superbug" infects 1 million Americans each year. A major problem with MRSA is the development of deep-seated chronic infections such as osteomyelitis (bone infection), endocarditis (heart infection), or infections of implanted medical devices. Once established, these infections are often incurable, even when appropriate antibiotics are used.

Bacteria such as MRSA have evolved to actively resist certain antibiotics, a fact that has generated significant interest among the scientific and medical communities. But Lewis, Director of Northeastern's Antimicrobial Discovery Center, suspected that a different adaptive function of bacteria might be the true culprit in making these infections so devastating.

The new work represents the culmination of more than a decade of research on a specialized class of cells produced by all pathogens called persisters. According to Lewis, these cells evolved to survive. "Survival is their only function," he said. "They don't do anything else."

Lewis and his research team posited that if they could kill these expert survivors, perhaps they could cure chronic infectionseven those resistant to multiple antibiotics such as MRSA. Furthermore, said Brian Conlon, a postdoctoral researcher in Lewis' lab and first author on the paper, "if you can eradicate the persisters, there's less of a chance that resistance will develop at all."

Lewis, who was elected to the American Academy of Microbiology in 2011 for his scholarship in the field, has found that persisters achieve their singular goal by entering a dormant state that makes them impervious to traditional antibiotics. Since these drugs work by targeting active cellular functions, they are useless against dormant persisters, which aren't active at all. For this reason, persisters are critical to the success of chronic infections and biofilms, because as soon as a treatment runs its course, their reawakening allows for the infection to establish itself anew.

In the recent study, which also includes contributions from assistant professor Steve Leonard of the Department of Pharmacy Practice, Lewis' team found that a drug called ADEP effectively wakes up the dormant cells and then initiates a self-destruct mechanism. The approach completely eradicated MRSA cells in a variety of laboratory experiments and, importantly, in a mouse model of chronic MRSA infection.

Coupling ADEP with a traditional antibiotic, Conlon noted, allowed the team to completely destroy the bacterial population without leaving any survivors.

As with all other antibiotics, actively growing bacterial cells will likely develop resistance to ADEP. However, Lewis said, "cells that develop ADEP resistance become rather wimpy." That is, other traditional drugs such as rifampicin or linezolid work well against ADEP-resistant cells, providing a unique cocktail that not only kills persisters but also eliminates ADEP-resistant mutant bacteria.

Dr. Richard Novick of New York University's Langone Medical Center and a leader in the field said the research is a "brilliant outgrowth of Kim Lewis' pioneering work on bacterial persisters and represents a highly creative initiative in this era of diminishing antibiotic utility."

While ADEP targets MRSA, Lewis' team believes similar compounds will be useful for treating other infections as well as any other disease model that can only be overcome by eliminating a population of rogue cells, including cancerous tumors. They are pursuing several already.


'/>"/>

Contact: Kara Shemin
kara.shemin@neu.edu
617-373-2802
Northeastern University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Health-related quality of life in PD patients in northeastern Sicily, Italy
2. Oceanographer Sylvia Earle kicks off Northeasterns Sustaining Coastal Cities Conference
3. Sustaining Coastal Cities Conference at Northeastern University
4. Danish researchers predict risk of valvular heart disease
5. Using morphine after abdominal surgery may prolong pain, CU-Boulder researchers find
6. Wayne State researchers discover specific inhibitor for rheumatoid arthritis treatment
7. Protein illustrates muscle damage: McMaster researchers
8. NSF awards to UT Arlington researchers will fuel sustainable solutions
9. Researchers uncover origins of cattle farming in China
10. UT Southwestern researchers identify how body clock affects inflammation
11. Researchers suggest plan to address hypoxia in Gulf of Mexico
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Northeastern researchers have discovered a new treatment to cure MRSA infection
(Date:6/22/2016)... 22, 2016   Acuant , the ... solutions, has partnered with RightCrowd ® ... Visitor Management, Self-Service Kiosks and Continuous Workforce ... add functional enhancements to existing physical access ... venues with an automated ID verification and ...
(Date:6/21/2016)... Columbia , June 21, 2016 ... to the new role of principal product architect ... named the director of customer development. Both will ... chief technical officer. The moves reflect NuData,s strategic ... in response to high customer demand and customer ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... , June 16, 2016 ... is expected to reach USD 1.83 billion by ... View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and increasing demand ... are expected to drive the market growth. ... The development of advanced multimodal techniques ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Researchers at the Universita Politecnica delle Marche in Ancona combed medical journal articles ... findings are the subject of a new article on the Surviving Mesothelioma website. ... blood, lung fluid or tissue of mesothelioma patients that can help point doctors to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... A person commits a crime, and the detective ... the criminal down. An outbreak of foodborne illness ... (FDA) uses DNA evidence to track down the bacteria that ... It,s not. The FDA has increasingly used a complex, cutting-edge ... illnesses. Put as simply as possible, whole genome sequencing is ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...   EpiBiome , a precision microbiome engineering company, ... financing from Silicon Valley Bank (SVB). The financing will ... its drug development efforts, as well as purchase additional ... has been an incredible strategic partner to us – ... would provide," said Dr. Aeron Tynes Hammack , ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 2016  Blueprint Bio, a company dedicated to identifying, ... community, has closed its Series A funding round, according ... "We have received a commitment from Forentis Fund ... to meet our current goals," stated Matthew Nunez ... to complete validation on the current projects in our ...
Breaking Biology Technology: