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OSU Testing New Drug To Battle Infections

OPB | Oct. 16, 2013 2:21 p.m. | Updated: Jan. 3, 2014 2:18 p.m. | Portland

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A new class of drugs aimed at combating antibiotic-resistant bacteria is being tested by researchers at Oregon State University.

Scientists at OSU infected mice with antibiotic resistant bacteria.

Scanning electron image of A. baumannii. 

Scanning electron image of A. baumannii.
 

Courtesy of J.Carr/CDC; T.Gianoulis and D.Massa / Yale

Those treated with new PPMO drugs survived, the rest did not.

Speaking on OPB’s Think Out Loud, microbiology professor Bruce Geller says the new drugs are synthetic compounds manufactured in a laboratory, “The bacteria don’t have any natural resistance to them.”

While antibiotics kill bacteria cells by targeting their various functions, PPMOs target the a bacteria’s genes instead - meaning PPMOs are a lot more selective.

Geller’s findings are published in the Journal of Infectious Diseases. Tests in humans are perhaps five years away, depending on the success of future studies.

Federal officials estimate antibiotic-resistant bacteria account for about 23,000 deaths a year in the U.S..

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