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New compound family to treat multi-resistant bacteria

Microscopy image of <i>Escherichia coli</i> treated with Polymyxin B (small outgrowths caused by the antibiotics are seen in the membrane).

Microscopy image of Escherichia coli treated with Polymyxin B (small outgrowths caused by the antibiotics are seen in the membrane).

14/09/2018

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Multi-drug resistant infections are hard to treat, since they require expensive alternatives which have adverse effects and are not always successful. This resistance to antibiotics is a growing problem in public health, especially when the discovery of these drugs has been on the low over the last years. A team from the University of Barcelona led by Francesc Rabanal, lecturer in the Organic Chemistry Section of the Faculty of Chemistry, has synthetized a new family of compounds with potential benefits regarding the existing antibiotics to treat these multi-resistant bacteria.

The innovating design of the UB team aims to prevent these antibiotics from forming an accumulation in the kidney by modifying its structure to work on its degradation and detoxification once the compound has worked its antimicrobial activity out. In vitro and in vivo experiments with mice showed good results in the treatment of the infections caused by Gram-negative bacteria, which cause two thirds of the deaths caused by bacterial infections. The compound has proved efficient and less toxic to treat the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, which has caused infections in hospitals due its ability to spread even in surfaces like catheters, and Klebsiella pneumonia, which has caused about 1 % of multi-resistant bacterial pneumonia. In fact, an efficacy test of the new compound in a pneumonia model showed a clear and significant reduction of the bacterial infection in the lungs.

With these results, the team led by Rabanal is working on the in vivo experiment and the pre-clinical evaluation of new compounds in pneumonia to start its clinical development.

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