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Scientists develop new form of antibiotic to combat multidrug resistant bacteria

Staff Writer |
A new antibiotic, developed by an Australian led-team of scientists, could present a solution to the problem of drug resistant bacteria, which is expected to present an ever increasing concern in the coming century.

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The new kind of antibiotic was developed to limit multidrug resistance by targeting and disrupting key elements in bacterial cells, by scientists from Griffith University (GU), in collaboration with colleagues from Queensland University of Technology, the United States' Indiana University and China's Dezhou University.

"We tried to develop a new type of antibiotics that act differently than what we are using right now," Professor Yaoqi Zhou from GU's Institute for Glycomics told Xinhua.

"The way most antibiotics stop key functions in bacteria is that they bind to the surface of an essential protein so that it is unable to perform its normal function."

"Our technique with this new antibiotic approach is different - instead of binding to the surface of the protein, we disrupt the structure of the protein, which stops it functioning."

In one test Zhou said, the team saw a 500-fold resistance develop to a commonly used antibiotic over 30 days, where as their newly developed antibiotic encountered no developed resistance at all.

Additionally the new drug may be useful in cancer treatment, another area where drug resistance is a major hurdle.

"What we've found in the concept is that it's not only working for antibiotics but should also work for anti-cancer, which also has a lot of problems in terms of drug resistance, also anti-viral - viral infections have a lot of problems with anti-drug resistance," Zhou said.

"So I think this is a concept that should be useful for any other kinds of disease which also has problems with drug resistance issues."

Although still in the early theoretical stage, Zhou is hopeful that the method will progress to animal testing and eventually clinical trials, and provide an answer to what is an increasingly urgent international crisis.

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