Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Beating superbugs with a high-tech cleanser

Date:
December 12, 2011
Source:
American Friends of Tel Aviv University
Summary:
Scientists have developed an efficient, cost-effective liquid solution that fights antibiotic-resistant bacteria on hospital surfaces and keeps patients safe from life-threatening infections. It's easy to prepare, easy to apply, non-toxic -- and it will cost just a few dollars per quart.

According to the World Health Organization, antibiotic-resistant bacteria are one of the top three threats to human health. Patients in hospitals are especially at risk, with almost 100,000 deaths due to infection every year in the U.S. alone.

Related Articles


Now Dr. Udi Qimron of the Department of Clinical Microbiology and Immunology at Tel Aviv University's Sackler Faculty of Medicine has developed an efficient and cost-effective liquid solution that can help fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria and keep more patients safe from life-threatening infections. The solution is based on specially designed bacteriophages -- viruses that infect bacteria -- that can alter the genetic make-up of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. "We have genetically engineered the bacteriophages so that once they infect the bacteria, they transfer a dominant gene that confers renewed sensitivity to certain antibiotics," explains Dr. Qimron.

The solution, recently detailed in the journal Applied and Environmental Microbiology, could be added to common antibacterial cleansers used on hospital surfaces, turning resistant bacteria into sensitive bacteria. It's easy to prepare, easy to apply, and non-toxic, Dr. Qimron notes. He estimates that one liter of the growth medium -- the liquid in which the bacteriophages are grown -- will cost just a few dollars.

The research was done in collaboration with Ph.D. student Nir Friedman, lab technician Shahar Mor, and Dr. Rotem Edgar of the Ichilov Medical Center.

Changing bacteria's genetics

Certain antibiotics are designed to target and bind to a part of the bacteria cell called a ribosome -- the protein factory of the cell. But after continual and frequent exposure to antibiotics, the bacteria "learn" to change components in the ribosome itself so that the antibiotics are unable to bind.

Dr. Qimron and his colleagues set out to determine whether they could make resistant bacteria sensitive to antibiotics again by re-introducing a component of the ribosome, a gene called rpsL, which restores bacteria's sensitivity to antibiotics. "Our novel approach relies on an effective delivery process and selection procedure, put on the same platform for the first time," says Dr. Qimron. With this system, the sensitive bacteria takes over the ecological niche once occupied by the resistant bacteria. And if a patient does happen to become infected by lingering bacteria anyway, traditional antibiotics can again be used as an effective treatment.

Two steps to disarming bacteria

Added to cleansers, Tellurite represents the second step in a two-part process. A Tellurite compound, which is toxic to bacteria, would also be spread on all surfaces to wipe out the bacteria that had not been rendered sensitive, and thus the entire population of the surface bacteria would be sensitized. The combination is designed to first disarm, and then kill dangerous bacteria.

Next, the solution will be tested in pre-clinical animal trials to ensure its safety before being made available for wider use at hospitals. Once its safety is guaranteed, the solution will come in a bottle, says Dr. Qimron, and easily added to a bucket or spray.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by American Friends of Tel Aviv University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. R. Edgar, N. Friedman, S. Molshanski-Mor, U. Qimron. Reversing Bacterial Resistance to Antibiotics by Phage-Mediated Delivery of Dominant Sensitive Genes. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 2011; DOI: 10.1128/AEM.05741-11

Cite This Page:

American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Beating superbugs with a high-tech cleanser." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209123216.htm>.
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. (2011, December 12). Beating superbugs with a high-tech cleanser. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209123216.htm
American Friends of Tel Aviv University. "Beating superbugs with a high-tech cleanser." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/12/111209123216.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Classic Hollywood Memorabilia Goes Under the Hammer

Reuters - Entertainment Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) The iconic piano from "Casablanca" and the Cowardly Lion suit from "The Wizard of Oz" fetch millions at auction. Sara Hemrajani reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

From Popcorn To Vending Snacks: FDA Ups Calorie Count Rules

Newsy (Nov. 25, 2014) The US FDA is announcing new calorie rules on Tuesday that will require everywhere from theaters to vending machines to include calorie counts. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Feast Your Eyes: Lamb Chop Sent Into Space from UK

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 25, 2014) Take a stab at this -- stunt video shows a lamb chop's journey from an east London restaurant over 30 kilometers into space. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins