Company Discovers New Class of Antibiotics for Resistant Infections
DNA-targeted drug kills MRSA strains in lab setting (Nov. 26)
Researchers at a Belgian biotechnology company have developed a new antibiotic that is active against drug-resistant strains of hospital- and community-acquired Staphyloccus aureus, including methicilin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA).
Bacterial infections that have become resistant to antibiotics represent a serious healthcare problem. MRSA — a potentially life-threatening infection that occurs most often among hospitalized patients — is the best-known example.
The newly discovered antibiotic works by inhibiting the target DNA pol III-alpha — an enzyme present in all bacteria and essential for their growth.
Using this target, the candidate antibiotic — CAM-1 — was tested against more than 250 different bacterial strains. The new drug was able to kill all drug-resistant strains of S. aureus, including MRSA. Clinical studies are expected to begin in the first quarter of 2014.
Drug-resistant infections, including MRSA, occur most often in healthcare settings. The development of new treatments within existing classes of antibiotics is complicated by the short timeframe in which resistance to the antibiotic emerges. Regulators encourage the development of narrow-spectrum antibiotics in order to address this dilemma. Current advances in rapid diagnostic tests to identify the bacterial strain responsible for an infection provide an opportunity for the development of targeted, narrow-spectrum antibiotics.
Source: Galapagos; November 26, 2012.