Drug resistant bacteria is showing its face around the world and causing worry that the golden age of antibiotics is coming to a close. At the University of Melbourne in Australia researchers have been working on something called structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers (SNAPPs), tiny microscopic devices that are able to damage bacterial walls without using any drugs. Shaped like tiny stars, it is their shape that seems to be the mechanism that helps destroy cell walls and let ions move across the membrane without any regulation, eventually leading to cell death.
Remarkably, the SNAPPs work equally well on all the Gram-negative bacteria trialed, including ESKAPE and colistin-resistant and MDR (CMDR). The investigators showed that the engineered polymers have low toxicity and that bacteria doesn’t seem to develop a resistance to them.
The team used animal models in their study, while trials on humans and the potential for a product to come out of them is still a ways away.
Study in Nature Microbiology: Combating multidrug-resistant Gram-negative bacteria with structurally nanoengineered antimicrobial peptide polymers…