Using historical procedures coupled with some clever architecture tricks, two Northeastern U. scientists have created at least the beginnings of 1 new antibiotic, 25 other candidates, and maybe even a whole new Class of them.
(funny how strangely-similar their process was to what those Hygeine Hypothesis guys advised)…
So in that spirit, when our immune-system wasn’t good enough, the old researchers would go out & find new bugs in nature to kill the ones that were troubling us, usually looking in the dirt.
Just lately, with so many hostpitals filled with MRSA & the rise of what the CDC called a Post-Antibiotic world, we need a new tool in that race; like yesterday.
So Kim Lewis and his team went out, dug around & found about 10,000 different strains of bacteria.
After they passed-over everything that had been discovered already, or wouldn’t work, they found one they called Eleftheria Terrae, which can produce an antibiotic they call Teixobactin.
The particularly-sneaky bit about this very powerful agent is that it doesn’t disrupt the part of the bugs that can defend itself the quickest. It targets another part of the bacteria that can barely change at all. (the part of its DNA that makes cell-walls)
Right now, Teixobactin is still in trials, and will probably be very expensive if it ever makes it to market, but it does absolutely devastate MRSA, Tuberculosis, Pneumonia, Anthrax and a few others.
The other sweet party-trick they invented was a laboratory-expanding hack in a box.
You see, most microbes researchers would like to study don’t grow well, or at-all, in lab environments on those little dishes full of jelly. They’re called “uncultured bacteria” (or sometimes Colin Farrell).
What Drs. Lewis and Epstein came up with was a way to “trick” the bacteria into thinking they’re back in their natural environment, by making something akin to an apartment-building for microbes.
Then, after the bugs get situated & put together the IKEAs, they start to grow their little colonies, which can then be harvested & tested.
-Without this device, called iChip, Teixobactin and the other 25 candidates would never have even been tested.
So maybe the hack is even more important than the discoveries it allows.
Check out the details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Superman Imposter 1”, by Laura Glover
• Source: LATimes
• More Coverage: Forbes | Lewis & Epstein’s company, NovoBiotic
• Source Study: Nature-A new antibiotic kills pathogens without detectable resistance[PDF]