Nav: Home

Bid to beat superbugs boosted by immune defence discovery

June 03, 2019

The fight against superbugs could be helped by the discovery of a potential therapy based on the body's natural immune defences.

Scientists have found that a molecule produced by the body - called LL-37 - changes the way cells behave when they are invaded by bacteria.

The molecule acts like a fire alarm, experts say, warning the body's immune system of the infection and the need for urgent action.

The team, from the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Inflammation Research, focused on lung diseases caused by bacterial infections, which are a major cause of death worldwide.

These infections are increasingly resistant to antibiotics, making them difficult to treat.

Previous studies with mice found that LL-37 instructs cells in an infected lung to call in specialised cells, known as neutrophils, which can destroy bacterial threats.

In tests on human lung cells, researchers found that LL-37 specifically targets infected cells, revealing the danger and producing a signal that summons the neutrophils.

At the same time, this flood of LL-37 into the infected cells causes them to self-destruct, removing the threat to other healthy cells before the bacteria can grow and spread.

Experts say this discovery could lead to new approaches to treat these multi-drug resistant infections.

Dr Donald J. Davidson from the MRC Centre for Inflammation Research said: "Our search for alternative and complementary treatments for antibiotic-resistant infections is becoming ever more urgent. Trying to boost the best of the human body's effective natural defences, like this, may prove to be an important part of our future solutions."
-end-
The study, published in the journal PLoS Pathogens, was funded by the Medical Research Council.

University of Edinburgh

Related Infections Articles:

Implant infections could be banished thanks to scaffold breakthrough
Researchers in Ireland have taken a major step forward in the battle against medical implant infections.
Zika infections could be factor in more pregnancies
Zika virus infection passes efficiently from a pregnant monkey to its fetus, spreading inflammatory damage throughout the tissues that support the fetus and the fetus's developing nervous system, and suggesting a wider threat in human pregnancies than generally appreciated, University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers have found.
Researchers identify changes in lung cells following infections
When people develop a respiratory infection, recovery from their illness leaves behind an immunological memory that influences how they will respond to later infections.
Fighting infections with a silver sword
Silver has been used to fight infections since ancient times.
Nanosponges lessen severity of streptococcal infections
In a new study, researchers show that engineered nanosponges can reduce the severity of infections caused by the bacteria responsible for strep throat and flesh-eating disease.
A new test to rapidly identify worldwide TB infections
A group of scientists from Arizona, Texas and Washington, D.C., has teamed up to develop the first rapid blood test to diagnose and quantify the severity of active TB cases.
Most dengue infections transmitted in and around home
Transmission of the mosquito-borne dengue virus appears to be largely driven by infections centered in and around the home, with the majority of cases related to one another occurring in people who live less than 200 meters apart, new research led by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the University of Florida suggests.
Most dengue infections transmitted in or near home
The majority of dengue virus infections appear to happen very close to home and are transmitted from the same family of mosquitoes, suggests new research led by the University of Florida and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.
One-two punch may floor worst infections
The scientists discovered the antiprotozoal drug pentamidine disrupts the cell surface of Gram-negative bacteria, even the most resistant.
How best to treat infections and tumors
A new research analysis provides physicians and patients with new information to help them make difficult decisions about how to treat tumors and infections.

Related Infections Reading:

Best Science Podcasts 2019

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2019. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Anthropomorphic
Do animals grieve? Do they have language or consciousness? For a long time, scientists resisted the urge to look for human qualities in animals. This hour, TED speakers explore how that is changing. Guests include biological anthropologist Barbara King, dolphin researcher Denise Herzing, primatologist Frans de Waal, and ecologist Carl Safina.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#SB2 2019 Science Birthday Minisode: Mary Golda Ross
Our second annual Science Birthday is here, and this year we celebrate the wonderful Mary Golda Ross, born 9 August 1908. She died in 2008 at age 99, but left a lasting mark on the science of rocketry and space exploration as an early woman in engineering, and one of the first Native Americans in engineering. Join Rachelle and Bethany for this very special birthday minisode celebrating Mary and her achievements. Thanks to our Patreons who make this show possible! Read more about Mary G. Ross: Interview with Mary Ross on Lash Publications International, by Laurel Sheppard Meet Mary Golda...