Tel Aviv University chemistry researchers claim to be the first to have developed a technique that neutralizes the ability of bacteria to develop resistance to antibiotics, according to a paper just published in the journal Organic Biomolecular Chemistry by Dr. Micha Fridman and partners at the University of Michigan.
The scientists took advantage of a protein that gives bacteria resistance and used it to create new derivatives that the pathogen cannot neutralize. The development will be presented at a seminar at TAU’s School of Chemistry for pupils from high schools around the Israel.
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One of the biggest problems in fighting infectious diseases is that as time goes by and antibiotics are widely used (and sometimes misused), they lose their ability to kill bacteria that develop mechanisms to neutralize the drugs.
Fridman, along with Dr. Silvie Garneau-Tsodikova and colleagues in the US, wrote of their advance, which can lead to the development of new antibiotics that can fight resistant bacteria, including those that are common in hospital wards.
They focused on a antibiotic family called aminoglycosides – including Tobramycin and Paromomycin – which are meant to kill off bacteria that have developed resistance.
Fridman explained that “the bacteria know how to identify antibiotics via enzymes. Using a chemical change at a suitable site in the drug, they neutralize its activity. Our idea was to bind a chemical group to the specific location in the drug and – using this strategy – neutralize the bacteria with the enzyme. In our present and previous studies, we have developed chemical and biochemical techniques to block the location in the antiobiotic that the enzyme changes and thus creates resistance.”