Navigation Links
Gator Blood May Be New Source of Antibiotics

Early research shows proteins from the reptiles can fight off 'superbugs'

MONDAY, April 7 (HealthDay News) -- Call it a case of gator aid. New research suggests that alligator blood could serve as the basis for new antibiotics targeting infections caused by ulcers, burns and even drug-resistant "superbugs."

The research is in its early stages -- extracts of alligator blood have only been tested in the laboratory -- and there's no guarantee that it will work in humans. Still, the findings are promising, researchers said.

"We need new antibiotics. Anything like this is a step forward," said Dr. Stuart Levy, a professor of medicine at Tufts University School of Medicine, who's an expert in antibiotic-resistant infections and is familiar with the new study. "But there are hurdles that this kind of antibiotic poses that others might not."

The study authors, from McNeese State University and Louisiana State University, said their research is the first to take an in-depth look at alligator blood's prospects as an antibiotic source. According to the researchers, alligators can automatically fight germs such as bacteria and viruses without having been exposed to them before launching a defense.

For the study, the researchers extracted proteins known as peptides from white cells in alligator blood. As in humans, white cells are part of the alligator's immune system. The researchers then exposed various types of bacteria to the protein extracts and watched to see what happened.

In laboratory tests, tiny amounts of these protein extracts killed a so-called "superbug" called methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The bacteria has made headlines in recent years because of its killing power in hospitals and its spread among athletes and others outside of hospitals.

The extracts also killed six of eight strains of a fungus known as Candida albicans, which causes a condition known as thrush, and other diseases that can kill people with weakened immune systems.

The researchers, who presented their findings April6 at the national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, said the blood extract could be used to develop an antibiotic in a topical cream form. They suggest that it could be called "alligacin."

Levy said the human body might reject alligator proteins, thinking they're foreign invaders. "Our bodies love to make antibodies to proteins," he said. "After you get the first dose, the body sees it as foreign, and the next dose gets scooped up by the immune system, and it's done."

But study lead author Lancia Darville, a doctoral student at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, La., said scientists might be able to create drugs that copy the blood proteins once they figure out their structure. The idea would be to make a chemical that the body doesn't think is a protein. Even so, Darville said, "it is not easy to mimic any antimicrobial peptide for clinical use."

Levy noted that many pharmaceutical companies have stopped investigating new antibiotics, because other areas of medicine are more profitable. The gap "has to be filled by more discovery," said Levy, who's also president of the Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics.

The study authors said alligator blood could become a drug source for humans within a decade.

Still, Emily Ackiss, a clinical epidemiologist at Scripps Mercy Hospital in Chula Vista, Calif., who's familiar with the study findings, said, "The research discussed in this article is basic research. More extensive research and experimentation are needed before drug development could be expected."

More information

Learn more about alligators from the University of Florida.

SOURCES: Lancia Darville, doctoral student, Department of Chemistry, Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, La.; Stuart B. Levy, M.D., president, Alliance for the Prudent Use of Antibiotics, and professor, medicine, Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; Emily A. Ackiss, M.P.H., clinical epidemiologist, Scripps Mercy Hospital, Chula Vista, Calif.; April 6, 2008, presentation, American Chemical Society national meeting, New Orleans

Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Patient Navigators Boost Colon Screens in Urban Minorities
2. Dr. Tracy Rupp wins the National Sleep Foundation Young Investigator Award
3. WRAIR investigators pioneering work on an exciting new class of antimalarial compounds
4. Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Receives Coveted 4-Star Rating for Sound Fiscal Management From Charity Navigator
5. FDA Approves Abbotts FreeStyle Navigator(R) Continuous Glucose Monitoring System
6. DFW Partnership for Peak Health Care Performance Selects Data Aggregator for Diabetes Treatment Program
7. Thomson Healthcares Clinical Xpert Navigator Tops KLAS Annual Performance Ranking in Mobile Data Systems for Sixth Consecutive Year
8. Genetics Researcher at Childrens Hospital Selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
9. Genetics researcher at Childrens Hospital selected as Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator
10. Noted Litigator Peter Diedrich Joins Musick Peeler & Garrett LLP
11. ABA Conference in Chicago Provides Litigators First Look at DNA Technology That Can Save Millions in Workers Comp and Toxic Tort Cases
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Gator Blood May Be New Source of Antibiotics
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... 01, 2015 , ... TCS Healthcare Technologies (TCS), a leading ... arenas, is pleased to announce that VIP Care Services, a Caprock Health Group ... ACUITY Complete Care™ Management to back their collaborative catastrophic case management initiatives. ACUITY ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... With ... footage, and with full control over customization, the possibilities are truly endless, all with ... position randomization, overlay depth position, vertical flip, horizontal flip, depth of field and more, ...
(Date:12/1/2015)... ... December 01, 2015 , ... Tympani Inc., announced today ... status from Cisco. This designation recognizes Tympani as having fulfilled the training requirements ... targeted to the high-end enterprise contact center marketplace. , Ed Kapelinski, President of ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... December 01, 2015 , ... The Turks ... Journal, one of the leading digital news sites highlighting Caribbean destinations, has published five ... While much of North America shivers under chilly grey skies or worse, it's ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Los Angeles, California (PRWEB) , ... November 30, ... ... in all the programs of the19th Bi-National Convention of the Federation of Philippine ... Resort and Casino in Las Vegas, Nevada. , 1Heart Caregiver Services, as ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... November 30, 2015 global cell culture market ... bn to US$11.3 bn by 2022 at a CAGR of 7.1% ... to grow from its 2013 value of US$6.1 bn to US$11.3 ... Transparency Market Research has announced the release of a new ... the report, titled ,Cell Culture Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... Nov. 30, 2015 Nautilus Medical Inc. today ... Management platform ( ). The release of MatrixRay ... RSNA 2015 (Radiology Society North America) in ... the U.S. --> --> ... enables access to radiology studies worldwide via a peer-to-peer ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... BANNOCKBURN, Ill. , Nov. 30, 2015 ... ), a global biopharmaceutical leader dedicated to ... diseases and underserved medical conditions, today announced ... [Antihemophilic Factor (Recombinant), PEGylated], an extended circulating ... hemophilia A based on full-length ADVATE [Antihemophilic ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: