NOVAMOXIN antibiotic from Bmramon at en.wikipedia
Scientists offer an alternative method to fight bacteria in an effort to combat antibiotic resistance. They generated liposomes, or very small particles that look much like cell membranes. Because of this similarity, liposomes, instead of the host cells, can draw in bacterial toxins and allow the resulting non-toxic bacteria to be defeated by the body’s natural immune defense. However, this is just the beginning- for one, liposomes still need to be tailored to different types of bacteria.

Liposomes are good candidates since they are already used to deliver drugs in the body and are known to be non-toxic to human cells. However, in order to target certain bacteria, the liposome needs to have a specific composition, which would be different for different bacteria, something that still needs to be figured out for gram-negative bacteria, which are often the pathogens that cause hospital acquired infections. While the authors claim that the liposomes will not promote bacterial resistance since they target bacterial toxins rather than the bacteria themselves, there could still be a very slight chance that a mutation could occur that would change the toxins’ attack mechanism, rendering the liposome ineffective. Also, since this study is still nascent, side effects are still unknown, among other things, and much needs to be done in order to incorporate this method clinically. In the end, having a diverse repertoire of treatments to combat bacteria while minimizing overuse seems like the best way to get around bacterial resistance.

Edited by SITN Waves Editor Ankita Shastri. Many thanks to Tracy Kambara and Enrique Garcia-Rivera for their contributions, expertise and insight on the article. Tracy Kambara and Enrique Garcia-Rivera are graduate students in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences program.

News story
Original article-Henry, B.D., et al. “Engineered liposomes sequester bacterial exotoxins and protect from severe invasive infections in mice,” Nature Biotechnology, 2014.

Read other SITN articles on bacteria and antibiotics-
Bacterial genes reveal course of infection
Antibiotic resistance super drugs for superbugs
Silk-Stabilized Vaccines and Antibiotics: Ending the “Cold Chain”
Antibiotics and foodborne pathogens: are superbugs born in livestock?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *