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

Deadly Rift Valley fever: New insight, and hope for the future

July 19, 2018
Health control measures alone could be ineffective in the long term fight against the deadly Rift Valley fever which affects both humans and animals, a new study in the journal PNAS reports.

Yeast species used in food industry causes disease in humans

July 19, 2018
A major cause of drug-resistant clinical yeast infections is the same species previously regarded as non-pathogenic and commonly used in the biotechnology and food industries. The study, published on July 19th in the open-access ...

New guidelines to diagnose, manage rare endocrine disorders

July 19, 2018
International guidelines have been published for the first time to help doctors around the globe diagnose and manage patients with a very rare set of endocrine diseases known as pseudohypoparathyroidism and its related disorders, ...

Overuse of antibiotics not what the doctor ordered

July 19, 2018
With increased use of antibiotics worldwide linked to growing antibiotic resistance, a world-first study co-authored by a QUT researcher has highlighted the growing impact of non-prescription supply of antibiotics in community ...

Alcohol-related cirrhosis deaths skyrocket in young adults

July 18, 2018
Deaths from cirrhosis rose in all but one state between 1999-2016, with increases seen most often among young adults, a new study shows.

Childhood abuse linked to greater risk of endometriosis, study finds

July 17, 2018
Endometriosis, a painful condition that affects one in 10 reproductive-age women in the U.S., has been linked to childhood physical and sexual abuse, according to findings published today in the journal Human Reproduction.

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.