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Scientists At The Scripps Research Institute And R.W. Johnson Pharmaceuticals Develop New Antibacterial Agents

La Jolla, CA. April 28, 1998 -- Scientists at The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) and their colleagues at the R.W. Johnson Pharmaceutical Research Institute have developed a series of new antibacterial compounds designed specifically to target the biological mechanisms by which bacteria establish an infection in the host. With resistance to antibiotics an increasing public health threat, particularly in the hospital setting, the compounds offer the potential to provide protection against Staphylococcus aureus, or staph infection, vancomycin-resistant enterococci, and penicillin-resistant Staphylococcus pneumoniae.

According to the authors of the study, James A. Hoch, Ph.D., Professor, and John M. Whiteley, Associate Professor in the Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, "With infectious disease continuing to be our most serious health problem, this work represents important progress in a new target area for anti-infective therapy."

The study, "Antibacterial agents that inhibit two-component signal transduction systems," by J.F. Barrett, R.M. Goldschmidt, L.E. Lawrence, B. Foleno, R. Chen, J.P. Demers, S. Johnson, R. Kanojia, J. Fernandez, J. Bernstein, L. Licata, A. Donetz, S. Huang, D.J. Hlasta, M.J. Macielag, K. Ohemeng, R. Frechette, M.B. Frosco, D.H. Klaubert, J.M. Whiteley, L. Wang, and J.A. Hoch, appears in today's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA.

Due to the overuse of antibiotics and the failure of some patients to take a proper dosage of medication, resistance to antibiotics is becoming an increasing risk to public health. In May, 1997, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention confirmed that Staphylococcus aureus had for the first time defended itself against vancomycin, the last drug reported to kill all of its strains. That strain, found in Japan, demonstrated an "intermediate" level of resistance to the antibiotic, a le
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Contact: Robin B. Goldsmith
rgoldsmi@scripps.edu
(619) 784-8134
Scripps Research Institute
28-Apr-1998


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