The study, published today in Nature Microbiology, holds promise for a new treatment method against antibiotic1-resistant bacteria (commonly known as superbugs). The star-shaped structures, are short chains of proteins called 'peptide polymers', and were created by a team from the Melbourne School of Engineering.
The team included Professor Greg Qiao and PhD candidate Shu Lam, from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, as well as Associate Professor Neil O'Brien-Simpson and Professor Eric Reynolds from the Faculty2 of Medicine, Dentistry and Health Sciences and Bio21 Institute.
Professor Qiao said that currently the only treatment for infections caused by bacteria is antibiotics3. However, over time bacteria mutate to protect themselves against antibiotics, making treatment no longer effective. These mutated bacteria are known as 'superbugs'.
"It is estimated that the rise of superbugs will cause up to ten million deaths a year by 2050. In addition, there have only been one or two new antibiotics developed in the last 30 years," he said.
Professor Qiao and his team have been working with peptide polymers in the past few years. Recently, the team created a star-shaped peptide polymer that was extremely effective at killing4 Gram-negative bacteria - a major class of bacteria known to be highly prone5 to antibiotic resistance - while being non-toxic6 to the body.
In fact, tests undertaken on red blood cells showed that the star-shaped polymer dosage rate would need to be increased by a factor of greater than 100 to become toxic.
The star-shaped peptide polymer is also effective in killing superbugs when tested in animal models. Furthermore, superbugs showed no signs of resistance against these peptide polymers.
- 最新评论 进入详细评论页>>