A University of Oklahoma (OU) team of chemists has developed a new antibiotic formulation to fight the sometimes deadly infection caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other antibiotic-resistant infectious bacteria. The new drug to treat MRSA combines traditional Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved antibiotics, such as methicillin, with the polymer BPEI.
OU chemistry professor Charles Rice, PhD, and a team of his colleagues has been able to invigorate older drugs from the penicillin family by combining them with BPEI. While this new formulation requires FDA approval, the approach restores efficacy to obsolete antibiotics.
“The use of first-line antibiotics to kill MRSA or other infectious bacteria will improve patient outcomes and lower the economic burden,” Rice said. “The discovery in our laboratory has made it possible to create an effective antibiotic that can reduce expensive hospitalization costs.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers MRSA a serious threat to human health. MRSA infected 80,500 people in 2011 and nearly one in seven cases resulted in death. When MRSA colonies invade host tissue, they release toxins that cause tissue injury leading to patient morbidity. Until now, more costly and highly toxic antibiotics of last resort were used to treat MRSA.
The takeaway from the OU team’s experiments is that any number of penicillin-type drugs combined with BPEI or related polymers could create a new first-line drug for treating infectious diseases and change how MRSA and other infectious bacteria are treated.
This article was adapted from information provided by OU.