Scientists are using ‘decoy’ antibiotics to trick resistant bacteria

  • Evans LE & al.
  • J Med Chem
  • 9 May 2019

  • curated by Pavankumar Kamat
  • UK Medical News
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Researchers at the Imperial College London have developed a novel 'decoy' drug technique to help tackle the growing threat of antibiotic-resistant infections.

Antimicrobial resistance has not only had an on the treatment of diseases such as tuberculosis, HIV and malaria, but has also endangered the outcomes of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy. Researchers have devised a new technique of administering antibiotics which only targets and eliminates bacteria that have developed resistance to frontline antibiotics.

The technique involves delivering 2 antibiotics attached to one another, one of which is a 'decoy.' When the bacterial enzymes cleave the decoy antibiotic, the action opens the drug, setting the second antibiotic into action. The second antibiotic is thus delivered in a targeted manner, only to be released after it encounters drug-resistant bacteria. Any residual infection resulting from non-resistant bacteria can be cleared using normal penicillin. In laboratory studies, scientists successfully tested the pair of cephalosporins (decoy) and ciprofloxacin (second antibiotic) against resistant Escherichia coli.

Dr Andrew Edwards, the lead researcher said: "Given the lack of new drugs in the pipeline it’s essential to develop new ways of using the existing stock of effective medicines to function in new ways, to reduce their damaging effects on our resident ‘good bacteria’ and to slow the rate at which bacteria become resistant to them."

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