Canadian researchers and the scientists at the University of Western Australia developed a new compound that fights antibiotic-resistant bacteria. The newly found remedy would come as an ideal replacement for B-lactam antibiotics, the so-called penicillins, which became increasingly less effective against new strains of superbugs.
According to Associate Professor Keith Stubbs from UWA’s School of Molecular Sciences and the study’s leading author, bacteria build immunity by producing an enzyme called AmpC b-lactamase that kills the antibiotics.
“Many bacteria produce AmpC b-lactamase only when b-lactam antibiotics are present, and this is controlled by a sensory ‘on switch’ molecule found inside the bacteria. Previous ways to overcome AmpC b-lactamase was to provide patients with an inhibitor of the AmpC enzyme as well as prescribing them the b-lactam antibiotic, but this approach is quickly becoming much less effective, with bacteria developing stronger and stronger resistance in recent years,” explained Keith Stubbs.
Antibiotic-resistant bacteria tackled with a new compound that halts the AmpC enzyme production in bacteria
The new research conducted by the Canadian researchers and led by the University of Western Australia discovered that superbugs that combat antibiotics by releasing AmpC enzyme could be tackled with a new compound that halts the production of that specific enzyme.
“If the ‘switch’ is not activated, AmpC b-lactamase can’t be made, and then the antibiotic can work to treat the bacterial infection successfully,” Stubbs added.
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, a superbug that affects patients with Cystic Fibrosis, was the scientists’ testing subject for the new compound. The new medication was effective in stopping the AmpC enzyme production in bacteria, allowing the b-lactam antibiotics to fight the infection correctly.
While the experiment’s results were promising in fighting against antibiotic-resistant bacteria, “more work is needed, but this sets the foundation for a new chemical approach to stop b-lactam resistance,” as said Associate Louisa Ho from the UWA School of Molecular Sciences.