Do it like the immune system: novel antimicrobials

August 30, 2012
Do it like the immune system: novel antimicrobials
© Thinkstock

Microbial infections are becoming unbeatable due to progressive mutations that lead to antimicrobial drug resistance. European scientists exploited the characteristics of novel antimicrobial compounds that mimic the dual activities of natural antimicrobial proteins.

The fight against contagious diseases is seriously threatened by the growing development of antimicrobial-. There is a profound need for novel and diverse antimicrobial prevention and .

Towards this direction, three pathways can be followed for the design of efficient drugs. The first is to target evolutionary conserved regions of the protein targets that have lower possibilities for change and therefore develop . The second is the creation of drugs of multiple activities and targets leading to enhanced antimicrobial action and low resistance development. Finally, the third pathway involves drug cocktails of many active compounds of diverse activities and specificities.

The EU project 'Antimicrobials by immune stimulation' (AMIS) aimed at the design and evaluation of novel antimicrobial drugs that mimic features of human antimicrobial proteins. AMIS scientists combined all three aforementioned approaches in an integrative and innovative manner using the human innate system as a model for new antimicrobial compounds. Since in the comprise different signals in a single molecule, AMIS researchers made novel antimicrobial molecules of combined features.

Initially, AMIS scientists collected and studied the properties of a plethora of promising natural antimicrobial molecules which have been identified in recent years. Taking the information from these studies, they designed antimicrobial proteins with dual activity. These proteins are able, on the one hand, to target extracellular or and, on the other, to weaken inflammation.

Within AMIS, important tools for the evaluation of antimicrobial proteins were optimised and validated. In addition, a variety of new compounds with either antimicrobial or anti-inflammatory activity were discovered.

Importantly, AIMS researchers managed to decipher the exact molecular mechanism of action in some of these compounds, essential for the design of effective drugs. Moreover, the most promising compounds were selected for the creation of fused compounds with even better characteristics. The first fused compound was created and is currently under evaluation.

The AMIS project did not result in a specific therapeutic strategy but it highlighted current limitations in the development of antimicrobial proteins against antimicrobial resistance. The reason for these limitations is not strictly technical but rather a lack of fundamental knowledge in the field of microbial pathogenesis and innate immune system.

Explore further: Antimicrobial resistance for common urinary tract infections drug increases five fold since 2000

More information: Information Source: Result from the EU funded FP6-LIFESCIHEALTH programme

Related Stories

Antimicrobial resistance for common urinary tract infections drug increases five fold since 2000

April 30, 2012
WASHINGTON, District of Columbia (April 30, 2012) – In a surveillance study of over 12 million bacteria, investigators at The George Washington University and Providence Hospital found E. coli antimicrobial resistance ...

EU sounds cry of alarm over resistance to antibiotics

November 17, 2011
The European Union warned Thursday of a sharp rise in deaths across the 27-nation bloc due to bacteria becoming resistant to antibiotics.

Recommended for you

Drug for spinal muscular atrophy prompts ethical dilemmas, bioethicists say

December 11, 2017
When the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for people with spinal muscular atrophy a year ago, clinicians finally had hope for improving the lives of patients with the rare debilitating muscular disease. ...

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

December 7, 2017
Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ...

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

December 6, 2017
Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill

December 6, 2017
The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first ...

Surgery-related opioid doses can drop dramatically without affecting patients' pain

December 6, 2017
Some surgeons might be able to prescribe a third of opioid painkiller pills that they currently give patients, and not affect their level of post-surgery pain control, a new study suggests.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations

December 4, 2017
People who end up in the hospital due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and published in the December issue of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.