SFU team helps discover potential superbug-killing compound

March 03, 2020

Researchers in Simon Fraser University's Brinkman Laboratory are collaborating with U.S. researchers to test a new drug that can kill a wide range of superbugs - including some bacteria now resistant to all common antibiotics.

Known as AB569, the drug contains ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (commonly referred to as EDTA) and acidified nitrite, two inexpensive chemicals that the researchers discovered work together to effectively kill disease-causing bacteria without harming human cells.

"We have a growing crisis with antibiotics becoming less and less effective, and treatments are failing; that's why it's important to test and develop new drugs and approaches to treat disease-causing bacteria that are highly resistant to existing antibiotics," says Geoff Winsor, lead database developer at SFU's Brinkman Lab, which is headed by SFU professor Fiona Brinkman.

SFU researchers characterized, at the molecular level, how the chemicals in the AB569 compound were likely working together to kill the notoriously drug-resistant Pseudomonas aeruginosa, using their Pseudomonas Genome Database hosted at SFU, and computer-based analyses of molecular data.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is a type of bacteria that can cause infections in the lungs (pneumonia), urinary tract, or blood. It is known as the leading cause of morbidity in patients with cystic fibrosis. People who are in hospital or have compromised immune systems are particularly at risk of developing an infection caused by this bacteria.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is categorized by the World Health Organization as a "priority pathogen" of concern. These priority pathogens are highlighted as urgently requiring new treatments, and posing the greatest threat to human health.

The top three priority pathogens include highly drug-resistant Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and Enterobacteriaceae. The AB569 compound has been shown to kill these bacteria, plus a wide variety of others, including the notoriously difficult to treat Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.

"AB569 will go through additional testing because it shows potential as non-toxic topical drug treatment for a wide range of infections," says Winsor.

The lab tests of AB569 showed promising results in treating priority pathogens, plus additional bacteria that cause foodborne illness such as E. coli and Listeria.

The AB569 compound was developed by a University of Cincinnati scientist and is now in the first phase of human trials. AB569 has been licensed exclusively to Toronto-based biotechnology firm Arch Biopartners.
-end-
The study is published in the U.S-based journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Simon Fraser University

Related Bacteria Articles from Brightsurf:

Siblings can also differ from one another in bacteria
A research team from the University of Tübingen and the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) is investigating how pathogens influence the immune response of their host with genetic variation.

How bacteria fertilize soya
Soya and clover have their very own fertiliser factories in their roots, where bacteria manufacture ammonium, which is crucial for plant growth.

Bacteria might help other bacteria to tolerate antibiotics better
A new paper by the Dynamical Systems Biology lab at UPF shows that the response by bacteria to antibiotics may depend on other species of bacteria they live with, in such a way that some bacteria may make others more tolerant to antibiotics.

Two-faced bacteria
The gut microbiome, which is a collection of numerous beneficial bacteria species, is key to our overall well-being and good health.

Microcensus in bacteria
Bacillus subtilis can determine proportions of different groups within a mixed population.

Right beneath the skin we all have the same bacteria
In the dermis skin layer, the same bacteria are found across age and gender.

Bacteria must be 'stressed out' to divide
Bacterial cell division is controlled by both enzymatic activity and mechanical forces, which work together to control its timing and location, a new study from EPFL finds.

How bees live with bacteria
More than 90 percent of all bee species are not organized in colonies, but fight their way through life alone.

The bacteria building your baby
Australian researchers have laid to rest a longstanding controversy: is the womb sterile?

Hopping bacteria
Scientists have long known that key models of bacterial movement in real-world conditions are flawed.

Read More: Bacteria News and Bacteria Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.