Scientists Engineer Human-germ Hybrid Molecules To Attack Drug-Resistant Bacteria

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Apr 18, 2017 01:08 PM EDT

Researchers from Rochester University have developed a new substance that can destroy drug-resistant bacteria. The findings of the study were published in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences. (Photo : Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Researchers at The Rockefeller University have engineered human-germ hybrid molecules to fight disease-causing bacteria. The work done by the research team provides a great promise for the treatment of drug-resistant infections. The findings of the research were described in the Proceedings for the National Academy of Sciences last April 17.

Phys.org reports that the team engineered molecules that perform something viruses does much better than the human immune system and that is target specific carbohydrate molecules that appear on the surface of bacterial cells. The Laboratory of Bacterial Pathogenesis and Immunology team, headed by Vincent Fischetti, used experiments with mice for the successful treatment of life-threatening infections by MRSA.

"Bacteria-infecting viruses have molecules that recognize and tightly bind to these common components of the bacterial cell's surface that the human immune system largely misses." We have co-opted these molecules and put them to work helping the immune system fight off microbial pathogens." Fischetti said.

While disease-causing bacteria are aimed at infecting humans, some of them target other bacteria. Such viruses have the ability to penetrate the outer surface or walls of the bacteria killing the cells in the process. With the help of molecular snippets called lysins, they are able to connect themselves to specific carbohydrates in cell walls.

News Locker revealed that the researchers used the ability of the lysine to coordinate with an immune response to come up with a substance that can fight pathogens. The research team called them "lysibodies." Through experiments, the team was able to conclude that lysibodies have the ability to engulf and destroy drug-resistant bacteria such as Staph.

The ability of the lysibodies to fight MRSA and other dangerous infections is already being tested. The Tri-Institutional Therapeutics Discovery Institute was put up for the purpose of manufacturing and testing the safety of the lysibodies. They could be used for the development of a new class of immune boosting therapies for infectious diseases.

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