Scientists describe potential antibody treatment for multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae

March 13, 2018, NIH/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
Klebsiella bacteria. Credit: NIAID

Researchers are developing a promising alternative to antibiotic treatment for infections caused by Klebsiella pneumoniae bacteria resistant to carbapenem antibiotics. The approach uses antibodies to target the K. pneumoniae protective capsule polysaccharide, allowing immune system cells called neutrophils to attack and kill the bacteria. The early stage, in vitro research was conducted by scientists at NIAID's Rocky Mountain Laboratories and the New Jersey Medical School-Rutgers University.

Klebsiella bacteria cause about 10 percent of all hospital-acquired infections in the United States. A carbapenem-resistant K. pneumoniae strain known as multilocus sequence type 258 (ST258) is one of the antibiotic-resistant organisms labeled an urgent threat by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ST258 is particularly concerning because it is resistant to most antibiotics. It is a significant cause of mortality among people with .

The researchers first determined that the bacterial prevents immune system neutrophils from ingesting and killing ST258. They then extracted capsule from the two most abundant capsule types of ST258 and used them to generate antibodies in rabbits. In cell culture experiments they found that one of the antibodies enhanced the ability of neutrophils to ingest and kill bacteria. These results are a "proof of concept" for a potential immunotherapy approach for treatment of multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae infections, the authors write.

Next up, the researchers will test the therapeutic concept in mice. They also will compare immunization with purified capsule polysaccharide as a preventive approach (active immunization) versus using capsule-specific as a therapy (passive immunization). Ultimately, they hope either antibody treatment alone or in combination with antibiotics could greatly improve care for people with multidrug-resistant K. pneumoniae infections.

Explore further: NIH advances understanding of defenses against antibiotic-resistant klebsiella bacteria

More information: Scott D. Kobayashi et al, Antibody-Mediated Killing of Carbapenem-Resistant ST258 Klebsiella pneumoniae by Human Neutrophils, mBio (2018). DOI: 10.1128/mBio.00297-18

Related Stories

NIH advances understanding of defenses against antibiotic-resistant klebsiella bacteria

January 25, 2017
Klebsiella bacteria cause about 10 percent of all hospital-acquired infections in the United States. K. pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST258) is one of the Carbapenem-Resistant Enterobacteriaceae organisms labeled an urgent ...

Bacteria resistant to last-resort antibiotic, missed by standard tests

March 6, 2018
Emory microbiologists have detected "heteroresistance" to colistin, a last-resort antibiotic, in already highly resistant Klebsiella pneumoniae, a bacterium that causes blood, soft tissue and urinary tract infections.

Researchers make killer superbug breakthrough

November 14, 2017
Researchers at Queen's University Belfast together with the University of Vienna have discovered that treatment for the antibiotic resistant bacteria Klebsiella pneumoniae could lie within our bodies' natural defences.

Scientists track evolution of a superbug

March 17, 2014
Using genome sequencing, National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists and their colleagues have tracked the evolution of the antibiotic-resistant bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae sequence type 258 (ST258), an important agent ...

New molecule can kill five types of deadly drug-resistant superbugs

March 6, 2018
An international research team led by the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology (IBN) of the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) and IBM Research developed a synthetic molecule that can kill five ...

Three Klebsiella species cause life-threatening infections and share drug resistance genes

August 2, 2017
A team of US researchers has discovered that three different species of Klebsiella bacteria can cause life-threatening infections in hospital patients and that all three share genes that confer resistance to the most commonly ...

Recommended for you

Infants born to obese mothers risk developing liver disease, obesity

November 16, 2018
Infant gut microbes altered by their mother's obesity can cause inflammation and other major changes within the baby, increasing the risk of obesity and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to researchers ...

New study shows NKT cell subsets play a large role in the advancement of NAFLD

November 16, 2018
Since 2015 it has been known that the gut microbiota could have a direct impact on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), which affects up to 12% of adults and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease. In the November ...

Antibiotic prescribing influenced by team dynamics within hospitals

November 15, 2018
Antibiotic prescribing by doctors is influenced by team dynamics and cultures within hospitals.

Discovery suggests new route to fight infection, disease

November 14, 2018
New research reveals how a single protein interferes with the immune system when exposed to the bacterium that causes Legionnaires' disease, findings that could have broad implications for development of medicines to fight ...

Zika may hijack mother-fetus immunity route

November 14, 2018
To cross the placenta, Zika virus may hijack the route by which acquired immunity is transferred from mother to fetus, new research suggests.

New research aims to help improve uptake of hepatitis C testing

November 14, 2018
New research published in Scientific Reports shows persisting fears about HIV infection may impact testing uptake for the hepatitis C Virus (HCV).

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.