Science 2 mins read

Here’s how we Will Overcome Growing Antibiotic Resistance

OSU scientists, led by Bruce Geller and in collaboration with international researchers, have used the PPMO molecule to combat antibiotic resistance.

Bruce Geller | Oregonstate.edu

Bruce Geller | Oregonstate.edu

Antibiotic resistant bacteria is a growing threat to our continued health and wellness. For many diseases, conventional antibiotics are no longer effective. Scientists at OSU have discovered a way to restore bacterial susceptibility to antibiotics. 

You may remember I covered the story of Shu Lam for Edgy Labs, centering around the doctoral student who developed a technique for combating drug-resistant germs without the use of antibiotics. Now we cover a similar effort, albeit focused on removing a bacteria’s antibiotic resistance.

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The Superbug War of Antibiotic Resistance

Researchers at Oregon State University, led by Bruce Geller, have used a certain molecule to neutralize bacteria’s ability to fend off antibiotics. The OSU scientists were part of an international collaboration attempting to provide solutions for the threat of antibiotic resistance.

The results of the study, published in the journal Antimicrobial Chemotherapy, could lead to a viable new strategy for treating resistant infections.

A New Antimicrobial Strategy

In this study, Geller and his colleagues at Oregon State University have designed, synthesized and tested a new molecule that would thwart antibiotic resistance in some bacteria. The synthetic molecule, PPMO, or peptide-conjugated phosphorodiamidate morpholino oligomer, does not kill bacteria, but blocks their ability to counteract antibiotics.

PPMO inhibits the expression of an enzyme called New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase (NDM-1). The bacteria’s gene that creates the enzyme is responsible for the increased resistance to most antibiotics.

In vitro, the PPMO molecule made the antibiotic meropenem, potent again against three genera of NDM-1 positive bacteria. The combination of the PPMO and meropenem antibiotic was effective in treating mice infected with a strain of E. coli.

Geller notes that this method will be ready for testing on humans in three years. Until then, effectiveness against antibiotic resistance will have to be tested on many other bacterial strains. The results can also be used to develop new antibiotics, which is crucial at a time where the number of disease strains that show antibiotic resistance increase constantly.

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Zayan Guedim

Trilingual poet, investigative journalist, and novelist. Zed loves tackling the big existential questions and all-things quantum.

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  1. Jon Moulton January 21 at 5:45 pm GMT

    Morpholinos
    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morpholino

    Bacterial gene modulation using Morpholinos
    http://www.gene-tools.com/bacteria

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