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Proteins discovered in gonorrhea may offer new approach to treatment
Date:3/31/2014

CORVALLIS, Ore. Researchers at Oregon State University have discovered novel proteins in, or on the surface of the bacteria that causes gonorrhea, which offer a promising new avenue of attack against a venereal disease that is showing increased resistance to the antibiotics used to treat it.

Only a single, third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic still shows good efficacy against gonorrhea, creating a race against time to find some alternative way to treat this disease that can have serious health effects. It's the second most commonly reported infectious disease in the United States.

Investigations based on these proteins might lead to new ways to combat the disease, including a vaccine, new types of drugs to block the growth of the bacteria, or even restoring the efficacy of some older antibiotics that have lost their usefulness, said Aleksandra Sikora, an assistant professor in the OSU College of Pharmacy.

"This could be a milestone in finding new ways to treat a global problem," Sikora said. "It appears that one or more of these proteins, either within the bacterial cell envelope or on its surface, are essential to its growth and survival. Now we have a new target to aim at."

World health officials have raised alarms that the growing resistance of gonorrhea to antibiotics could cause it to become untreatable. There are more than 60 million cases of this venereal disease treated around the world every year and 300,000 just in the U.S. in people who experience clear symptoms. But some of the worst damage is done among millions of other cases that are very mild or asymptomatic.

Such symptomless infections, most common in women, can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, ectopic pregnancy and infertility, as well as increase the transmission of the HIV virus. Gonorrhea can also affect joints and heart valves, and cause blindness in infants infected during birth.

The new findings were just published in M
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Contact: Aleksandra Sikora
Aleksandra.sikora@oregonstate.edu
541-737-5811
Oregon State University
Source:Eurekalert  

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Proteins discovered in gonorrhea may offer new approach to treatment
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