McMaster University researchers have found a new way to treat the world’s worst infectious diseases, the superbugs that are resistant to all known antibiotics.
The discovery of an effective combination therapy has the potential to change medical practice for the treatment of the drug resistant infections which the World Health Organization (WHO) last week identified as of “critical priority” for their threat to human health.
The research was published in the journal Nature Microbiology.
“We looked for compounds that would mess with these bacteria, and I think we’re nailing it,” said Eric Brown, senior author of the paper, a professor of biochemistry and biomedical science at McMaster’s Michael G. DeGroote School of Medicine and a scientist of the Michael G. DeGroote Institute for infectious Disease Research.
His team focused on Gram-negative bacteria which are resistant to all antibiotics including last resort drugs, such as colistin, and lead to pneumonia, wound or surgical site and bloodstream infections, as well as meningitis in healthcare settings.
- Antibiotic Effective Against Drug-Resistant Bacteria in Pediatric Skin Infections
- Serious, highly drug-resistant infections increasing among US children
- Drug-Resistant Infections Tied to Livestock-Associated Staph
- Rates of Resistant Infections Up in U.S. Children
Gram-negative bacteria have an intrinsically impenetrable outer shell that is a barrier to many otherwise effective antibiotics, and this makes these infections deadly, particularly in hospital settings. His team tested a collection of 1,440 off-patent drugs in search of one that might compromise that barrier in the superbugs.
The scientists discovered the antiprotozoal drug pentamidine disrupts the cell surface of Gram-negative bacteria, even the most resistant. The anti-fungal medication was particularly potent when used with antibiotics against multidrug resistant bacteria.