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Researchers analyze how new anti-MRSA abtibiotics function
Date:7/28/2008

A new paper by Shahriar Mobashery, Navari Family Professor in Life Sciences at the University of Notre Dame, and researchers in his lab provides important insights into promising new antibiotics aimed at combating MRSA.

Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is a major global health threat that kills approximately 20,000 people in the U.S. alone each year.

Mobashery is a world-renowned expert in antibiotic resistance and enzyme inhibitors and he and his research team have long probed the nuances of MRSA as a superbacterium.

The Notre Dame team investigated two new anti-MRSA β-Lactam antibiotics from the pharmaceutical company Cerexa Inc., which are currently undergoing clinical trails. Both are broad-spectrum antibiotics, but their activities against MRSA and multi-drug-resistant MRSA have been especially noteworthy.

Although current media attention to MRSA may make it seem to be a recent development, the first strain that came to be known as MRSA actually emerged in 1961 in the United Kingdom. This difficult strain of Staphylococcus aureus became a global scourge within a span of a mere few years. Whereas previously Staphylococcus aureus was exquisitely sensitive to β-Lactam antibiotics, a class that includes penicillins (such as methicillin), this variant became resistant to all of the commercially available members of this class of antibiotics. Clinicians had to turn to second lines of antibiotics, which were substantially less effective and often were toxic to the human host.

By the 1980s and 1990s, MRSA had become a serious clinical problem, dreaded by clinicians in health care facilities, prisons and nursing homes. Of late, a new variant of community onset of antibiotic-resistant staph infections emerged outside of institutions.

"For the past 50 or 60 years, we've been able to stay one step ahead of traditional infections," Mobashery said. "However, there are cases of resistance to all eight ma
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Contact: Shahriar Mobashery
mobashery@nd.edu
574-631-2933
University of Notre Dame
Source:Eurekalert

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