Apr. 23, 2007 Scientists have identified a chemical that could be used as a new drug against anthrax.
Anthrax is a deadly disease caused by spores that germinate into bacteria, which then release a deadly toxin. Spores that are inhaled by animals or people germinate in the lungs to form bacteria, which then spread throughout the body, releasing the toxin and triggering the disease. Since spore germination is needed to cause infection, preventing germination is a potentially efficient way to stop the infection.
Jurgen Brojatsch, Ernesto Abel-Santos, and colleagues identified seven chemicals that block the germination of cultured anthrax spores. They also showed that one of these compounds, 6-thioguanosine, blocked the spores' germination inside mammalian cells, thus blocking anthrax infection. The scientists are now planning to test 6-thioguanosine in mice infected with the anthrax bacterium. This compound is a known anticancer agent with well-studied pharmacological properties, which could help save time and money if it is used in clinical trials.
Article: "Identification of an in Vivo Inhibitor of Bacillus anthracis Spore Germination" by Monique Akoachere, Raynal C. Squires, Adel M. Nour, Ludmyl Angelov, Jurgen Brojatsch, and Ernesto Abel-Santos
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