Combating antibiotic resistance

February 16, 2006

Scientists working at the Scripps Institute have re-engineered an antibiotic drug at the molecular level...

Scientists working at the Scripps Institute have re-engineered an antibiotic drug at the molecular level, increasing its effectiveness against resistant bacterial strains. The researchers have changed a single atom in the drug vancomycin, resistance to which is becoming problematic in hospitals around the world.

Vancomycin must bind to a specific region of a bacterium's cell-wall in order to have an effect. Resistance is conferred by a change in the make-up of the cell-wall. The single atomic change made by the researchers increases vancomycin's binding affinity to VRE bacteria by up to 40 times. VRE strains were first reported in 1986, almost 30 years after vancomycin was introduced, and have become a serious issue for health authorities across the globe. Professor Dale L. Boger part of the team responsible said, "Our successful synthesis of a novel vancomycin analogue with a molecular structure that restores much of the drug's binding ability could potentially lead to the development of a new generation of antibiotics that could prove far more effective against vancomycin-resistant infections than what is available today."

Related Content:

Formulation | Development