News Feature | February 21, 2014

Scripps Researchers Find New Drug Resistance Mechanism For Antibiotics

Request Information

By Marcus Johnson

Researchers at Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) in Florida have found a new way for drugs to resist the constant mutation of bacteria and continue to remain effective. The CDC’s statistics state that more than 23,000 Americans die annually because they are afflicted with infections from bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Government officials and health industry experts have asked for more research and development of new antibiotics.

Ben Shen, a researcher at Scripps, believes that his team has found a way to produce a new line of highly effective antibiotics. “Now, because we know the resistance mechanism, we can design elements to minimize the emergence of resistance as these promising new drug candidates are developed,” said Shen. His team’s study was published in the Cell Press journal Chemistry & Biology.

Shen’s research team used their own bacteria—Streptomyces platensis—as an organic anti-bacterial. That particular bacteria is currently used in a number of antibiotics, but Shen’s team dug deeper into how Streptomyces platensis remains resistant to other bacteria. The researchers developed a method which made the bacteria more potent in killing other bacteria, but not the producing bacteria. Their method has potential in the antibacterial realm. “Knowing how these bacteria protect themselves, what the mechanisms of self-resistance of the bacteria are, is important because they could transfer that resistance to other bacteria,” said Tingting Huang, a researcher who worked on the study with Shen.

The Scripps study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.