News - Wednesday May 14th, 2008

Bacteria killing

Misuse of antibiotics has well-known consequences, all resumed into one, antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria that are challenging the medical expertise of today's physicians when facing a patient with one of these strains.

Creating resistance is like going back to the 19th century from a medical point of view, because youa re at the microorganisms' disposal.

Pharmaceutical research to create new drugs and the clearance from clinical trials are not fast-enough to cope with the bacterial mutation capacity. Other alternatives are always an option, although scarcely found.

However as we will see in the next report the situation might change in our favor.

A biotech company is developing polymers and medicines that attack microorganisms.

Despite the proliferation of antibiotics and assorted antibacterial hand lotions and wipes, bacteria remain a moving target for hospitals and clinics seeking to protect their patients from infections. One approach gaining traction in the effort to banish bacteria is to mimic the way the human body attacks these microorganisms by punching holes in bacterial cell membranes and hobbling their ability to morph into antibiotic-resistant pathogens.

PolyMedix is, with the help of scientists at the University of Pennsylvania, developing drugs and polymers that behave much like the body's own defenses. Among those in the works: medications that can kill bacteria without the need to actually enter the cells themselves as well as new polymers that the company hopes will be used in paints, plastics and textiles to create self-sterilizing products and surfaces. The polymer is not a coating like silver, ammonium salts or phenols. "Our compounds become part of the surface," he says, and can kill bacteria in a matter of seconds. "If you make the antibiotic part of the material, the effect is long lasting."

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