Scientists Turn Tables on Bacteria

TEL AVIV, Israel, Sept. 15 (UPI) — Israeli researchers say they’re developing treatments to combat drug-resistant bacteria, by stealing a trick used by the bacteria.

Scientists at Tel Aviv University say the same mechanism that turns bacteria drug-resistant can be used against them, a university release said.


“We took the mechanism of bacterial resistance and used this mechanism itself to generate antibiotics,” Dr. Micha Fridman of the university’s department of chemistry says.

Some bacterial strains include enzymes that can inactivate antibiotics. When the enzymes meet with these antibiotics, they chemically alter the drug, making the antibiotic ineffective and unable to recognize its target, Fridman says.

Researchers have turned the tables on the bacteria by isolating the antibiotic-inactivating enzymes from the bacteria and integrating them into the drugs.

The modified antibiotics proved to be effective against typically resistant bacterial strains, they said.

When fully developed, Fridman says, they could be used to treat infections now considered difficult if not impossible to treat with current antibiotics.

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