Science Team Creates Therapy to Kill Hypervirulent Bacteria

An antimicrobial peptide from cows has potential for treating incurable infections from Klebsiella pneumoniae commonly found in the intestines.

University of Central Florida College of Medicine researcher Renee Fleeman, PhD, is on a mission to kill drug-resistant bacteria, and her latest study has identified a therapy that can penetrate the slime that such infections often use to protect themselves from antibiotics. In a study published March 13, 2024 in Cell Reports Physical Science, Fleeman and her team showed that an antimicrobial peptide from cows has potential for treating incurable infections from the bacterium Klebsiella pneumoniae. The bacteria, commonly found in the intestines, is usually harmless. It becomes a health hazard when it enters other parts of the body and can cause pneumonia, urinary tract, and wound infections. Those at highest risk include seniors and patients with other health problems such as diabetes, cancer, kidney failure, and liver disease. However, younger adults and people without additional health problems can acquire urinary tract and wound infections from the bacteria that cannot be treated by antibiotics available today. The open-access article is titled “Polyproline Peptide Targets Klebsiella pneumoniae Polysaccharides to Collapse Biofilms.”

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