GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Researchers at the University of Florida have developed potent new compounds with aquatic origins that may offer relief for the 17 million American affected by biofilm-associated bacterial infections annually.
The series of compounds known as the halogenated phenazines, or HPs, can kill dangerous bacterial biofilms present in recurring and chronic bacterial infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA. The discovery may one day offer a cure for persistent bacterial infections that are largely resistant to conventional antibiotic treatments.
“Using synthetic chemistry, we have developed a series of marine antibiotic-inspired molecules that target a problem conventional antibiotics are unable to address because cells housed within bacterial biofilms are tolerant of them,” said Robert Huigens, Ph.D., an assistant professor medicinal chemistry at the UF College of Pharmacy, a part of UF Health, and lead investigator of a study published in the Angewandte Chemie journal’s online edition. “We have been aware that biofilms greatly contribute to infections over the past 20 years, but there are no biofilm-eradicating therapeutic agents available. Discovering and developing potent biofilm-killing agents is the first step toward eradicating biofilms in patients.”
Biofilms are bacterial communities that accumulate and attach to surfaces, including live tissues in humans. The bacterial cluster is often slow or non-growing, encased in a protective layer of diverse biological molecules that form a ‘slime,’ and displays tolerance to every known class of antibiotic treatments available. Biofilm infections affect almost every tissue in the body, and without a way to eliminate the biofilm, chronic and sometimes fatal infections develop over time. Common biofilm infections include pneumonia in cystic fibrosis patients, chronic wounds and implant- and catheter-associated infections.
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Thank you Dr. Huigens for all your effort and research. Seventeen million people per year get infected. The impact that you and your fellow researchers will have on lung health in the future will be appreciated.
Community pharmacists are the health professionals most accessible to the public. They supply medicines in accordance with a prescription or, when legally permitted, sell them without a prescription. In addition to ensuring an accurate supply of appropriate products, their professional activities also cover counselling of patients at the time of dispensing of prescription and non-prescription drugs, drug information to health professionals, patients and the general public, and participation in health-promotion programmes. They maintain links with other health professionals in primary health care.