Scientists at St. Boniface Hospital Albrechtsen Research Centre and the University of Manitoba in Canada have developed a drug that combats two of the top ten "priority pathogens" recently defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as antiobiotic-resistant bacteria requiring new interventions1. The drug, dubbed PEG-2S, has received a provisional patent, and its development is highlighted in a study published online on April 20, 2017 in the Canadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology (CJPP). Without affecting healthy cells, the drug prevents the proliferation of a harmful bacteria that possesses a specific type of energy supply shared by a number of other bacteria. The open-access article, entitled "Development of a Novel Rationally Designed Antibiotic to Inhibit A Nontraditional Bacterial Target,” revealed that a variety of bacteria share a unique respiratory sodium pump (NQR) that supplies energy vital to the bacteria's survival. The study showed that the drug in question, PEG-2S, inhibits the function of the NQR pump and the production and growth of Chlamydia trachomatis bacteria. The drug is highly targeted and only impacts bacterial cells with NQR pumps and is not toxic to normal, healthy cells. The list of NQR-possessing bacteria is growing steadily as genomic information becomes available. With more than 20 different pathogenic bacteria containing NQR, the possibility for this drug to avoid multidrug resistance through NQR inhibition represents a potential breakthrough in antibiotic design. Traditional targets for antibiotics are limited; no new antibiotics have been discovered since 1987. Only two antibiotics have received U.S. FDA approval since 2009. "New drugs are not being approved because they share the same target to which the bacteria are developing resistance.
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