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Trojan horse strategy defeats drug-resistant bacteria

gallium can't function like iron once it's inside bacterial cells."

The researchers showed that gallium killed microbes, and prevented the formation of biofilms. Importantly, gallium's action was intensified in low iron condition, like those that exist in the human body. Gallium was even effective against strains of Pseudomonas aeruginosa from cystic fibrosis patients that were resistant to multiple antibiotics. In mice, gallium treatment blocked both chronic and acute infections caused by this bacterium.

The idea of using gallium as a substitute for iron was developed by a group led by Bradley Britigan, a researcher at the University of Cincinnati and a co-author on this study. The general approach of targeting stresses already applied by natural defense mechanisms could be a promising new way to treat infections.

"We badly need new approaches to fight bacteria," said Singh. "The gallium strategy isn't ready for clinical use yet," he added. "However, we think this approach is promising, and we can't afford to leave any stone unturned."
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Source:University of Washington


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