Through serendipity, scientists at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health considerably reduced the toxicity of a possible antibiotic against the most feared drug-resistant bacteria, while additionally improving its stability in fighting infections.
The new antibiotic—managed through the windpipe to target lung infections—proved simpler than its experimental predecessor and traditional last-resort antibiotic treatments in fighting drug-resistant bacteria in laboratory cell cultures and mice.
And it did so without notable poisonous side-effects, in line with findings printed today in Science Advances.
Antimicrobial resistance is registered by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as one of many biggest public health challenges of our time, with somebody dying in the U.S. every 15 minutes from an antibiotic-resistant infection. It happens when bacteria rapidly evolve resistance against antibiotics, making them superbugs.
The experimental drug is built from an engineered cationic antimicrobial peptide, or eCAP, which is a synthetic and more efficient model of naturally occurring antimicrobial peptides that form the first line of defense against infections in humans.
Created by co-authors Berthony Deslouches, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor in Pitt Public Health’s Division of Environmental and Occupational Health, and Ronald Montelaro, Ph.D., professor emeritus in Pitt’s Department of Microbiology & Molecular Genetics, eCAPs work by punching into bacteria, thereby killing them.