Dread pathogen: Significant success in the fight against multi-resistant germs
The increase in antibiotic resistance poses an increasing danger to humanity. If such medicines no longer work, even small inflammations can become a great risk. Swiss researchers have now achieved spectacular success in the fight against multi-resistant bacteria. They found out how to prevent infection with one of the most feared pathogens.
Dangerous increase in antibiotic resistance
The increase in resistance to antibiotics presents the healthcare system with an ever increasing challenge. It was only last year that an EU Commission warned of massively increasing antibiotic resistance. If the problem is not brought under control soon, researchers face a horror scenario. According to an older study by the Berlin Charité, there could be around ten million deaths from multi-resistant germs by 2050. In recent years, more and more governments and experts have announced that they want to step up the fight against antibiotic resistance. Swiss researchers have now achieved spectacular success in this area.
One of the most feared pathogens
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) is one of the most common multi-resistant germs worldwide.
If it can reproduce excessively or even get inside the body, it can lead to dangerous blood poisoning, soft tissue infections or pneumonia - the range of infections that the pathogen can cause is wide.
A number of bacterial infections are difficult to treat because their pathogens form large, complex, resistant associations, a gelatinous shell, the so-called biofilm.
Staphylococcus aureus is the most common causative agent of these biofilm-associated infections, which form in particular on foreign bodies such as hip and knee prostheses, pacemakers and artificial heart valves and can hardly be treated with common antibiotics.
Such infections lead to lengthy treatments, sometimes serious complications such as mobility restrictions in infections of joint prostheses, high costs for the health system and can also be fatal.
Prevention of bacterial infections
Researchers from the Department of Biomedicine (DBM) at the University and University Hospital of Basel (USB) and the Basel-based Department of Biosystems (D-BSSE) from the ETH (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) in Zurich have now achieved spectacular success.
As is clear from a message, a therapy has been developed with which extremely difficult to treat infections with MRSA can be combated and even prevented.
The effectiveness of the therapy was proven in a study that was published in the journal "Cell".
Detect and eliminate MRSA in a targeted manner
According to the information, the team led by Martin Fussenegger, professor at D-BSSE and at the University of Basel, has developed designer cells that can recognize and specifically eliminate MRSA.
This is achieved using a synthetic accelerator that promotes the adjustable and reversible release of lysostaphin. Lysostaphin is a bacteriolytic enzyme and can break down bacteria.
Prof. Nina Khanna, research group leader at DBM and senior doctor for infectious diseases and hospital hygiene at USB, and her team were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of the designer cells using a foreign body infection model.
On the one hand, the cells were able to counteract the development of an infection with MRSA and, on the other hand, to combat an existing biofilm infection. It was shown that the cells are superior to classic antibiotic therapy.
It is clear to the expert that targeted therapies to fight infections will become increasingly important:
“The regulatable and reversible release of antibacterial substances could counteract the development of antibiotic resistance,” says Khanna. (ad)