How Case Western researchers are eliminating drug-resistant infections without antibiotics

Molecules designed to inhibit toxin formation in bacteria could prove an effective alternative to antibiotics, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.

For the study, researchers from Cleveland-based Case Western Reserve University conducted various mouse models to assess the therapeutic molecules' ability to eliminate antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

The molecules attach to a protein responsible for making toxins in all Gram-positive bacterial species.

"Without the toxins, the bacteria become harmless. And since they don't need the toxins to survive, there is less pressure to develop resistance," senior study author Menachem Shoham, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, said in a press release.

In one model, septic mice infected with methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus demonstrated a 100 percent survival rate when treated with the molecules. In contrast, 70 percent of the untreated mice died. Researchers found the molecules offered similar efficacy to current antibiotics used to treat S. aureus.

"We have proven efficacy not only against MRSA but also against Staphylococcus epidermidis, which is notorious for clogging catheters, Streptococcus pyogenes that causes strep throat, Streptococcus pneumoniae and other pathogens," Dr. Shoham said in the press release.

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