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Chemists take new approach to fighting resistance

Chemists at Wayne State University have designed two new drugs to fight the growing problem of antibiotic resistance: an antibiotic that "self-destructs" after exposure to light and another that "self-regenerates" after encountering resistant bacteria. Both represent novel approaches for keeping infectious bacteria at bay, the researchers say.

Reports on the research will appear in two separate peer-reviewed publications of the American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific society. The report on the regenerating antibiotic is in the Dec. 22 print edition of the Journal of the American Chemical Society; the self-destructive antibiotic is scheduled for the Jan. 13 print issue of the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry. Both articles were published this month-Dec. 4 and 16, respectively-on the journals' web sites.

Antibiotics are among the most widely prescribed drugs worldwide. Commonly used to fight infections in both humans and animals, these drugs have had a major impact on public health. Paradoxically, their widespread use has fueled a growing health threat: antibiotic resistance.

"Once bacteria are exposed to a given antibiotic, they become resistant to its action in due time by changing their own genetic make-up to cope with the challenge," explains lead researcher Shahriar Mobashery, Ph.D., professor of chemistry at Wayne State University in Detroit. "The longer the bacteria are exposed to a given antibiotic, the higher the likelihood they will eventually evolve a resistance to that antibiotic," Dr. Mobashery said.

Antibiotic resistance means that drugs that used to work against infections will no longer work effectively, putting people and animals at risk. For years, scientists have been searching for ways to resolve this growing problem. Now, they may have found a duo of answers.

"Self-destructive" Antibiotic

"A feature of antibiotics is that they are usually not metabolized in the
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Contact: Beverly Hassell
b_hassell@acs.org
202-872-4065
American Chemical Society
19-Dec-1999


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