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Unplanned solution to antibiotic drug resistance
July 23, 2017, 1:25 pm

Scientists world over have been trying to find a simple, cost-effective solution to antibiotic drug resistance and superbugs that are increasingly becoming a cause for serious concern among healthcare providers.

Now cancer researchers in the United Kingdom may have inadvertently stumbled across a simple solution to reverse antibiotic drug resistance. They have already created and validated several new antibiotics, many of which are as potent, or even more powerful, than standard antibiotics such as amoxicillin.

"I think we've accidentally invented a systemic way of creating new antibiotics which is simple, cheap and could be very significant in the fight against superbugs," said Dr. Federica Sotgia, a co-author on the study at Salford University in Manchester.

Scientists at the university, searching for compounds that could be used effectively as antibiotics against cancer stem cell mitochondria, which fuels the growth of fatal tumors, switched their focus and started hunting for compounds that were effective against mitochondria and could be tested as antibiotics.

Mitochondria and bacteria have a lot in common. The researchers began by thinking that if what they found inhibited mitochondria, it would also kill bacteria, making the new anti-cancer agents also potential antibiotics.

The team sorted through 45,000 compounds before eventually whittling the list down to 10 compounds that were most effective in inhibiting mitochondria. The ten synthetic compounds were also found to inhibit a broad spectrum of common bacteria, including Streptococcus, Pseudomonas, E. coli and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), as well as the pathogenic yeast, Candida albicans.

The researchers, who named the new antibiotics 'Mito-riboscins', found that they were equally, if not more potent than standard antibiotics.

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