Thursday, January 21, 2016

Innovative compound with anti-MRSA qualities may help develop new class of antibiotics

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With global health services increasingly worried about the rise of antibiotic resistant diseases, researchers at Maynooth University have discovered a compound whose anti-MRSA qualities pave the way for the development of a new class of antibiotics. The new research is published today in the internationally renowned journalBioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry Letters. The findings mark the culmination of three years of work on the part of the team led by Dr John Stephens, Maynooth University Department of Chemistry, in collaboration with Dr Kevin Kavanagh, Maynooth University Department of Biology.

According to recent studies, on any given day one in 18 hospitalised patients are suffering from healthcare associated infections, with MRSA and E. coli responsible for 64% of cases. Doctors struggling with these infections are confronted with the increased prevalence of antibiotic resistant strains, but this represents only part of the problem. Of the antibiotics used today, almost all of them belong to classes discovered before the 1980s and this research was motivated by the urgent need to identify and synthesise new antibiotic classes.

Commenting on this discovery, Dr John Stephens observes:
As today’s infections develop increasing resistance to the antibiotics of the past, there is an urgent need for researchers to develop new therapeutics. Without this action, we are seriously at risk of entering a post-antibiotic world where common and traditionally minor infections could once again prove fatal. Discovering the antibacterial properties of our lead compound, the highly active quinoline thiourea, at Maynooth University is a significant first step. With further research and development, it has the potential to pave the way for a new class of antibiotic.
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