Saskatoon

U of S research into antibiotic resistance could slow looming public health crisis

Amid dire predictions that lifesaving medicines will soon be ineffective, there's some promising new research from the University of Saskatchewan that may slow antibiotic resistance.

University of Saskatchewan researchers examining compounds that block "SOS response"

Antibiotic resistance poses a real threat to the fate of the human species, some health experts say.

Amid dire predictions that lifesaving medicines will soon be ineffective, there's some promising new research from the University of Saskatchewan that may slow antibiotic resistance.

We need new strategies to block development of resistance and to prolong the life of antibiotics.- U of S biochemist Ron Geyer

A research team at the U of S says it has discovered a way to prevent bacteria from developing resistance to antibiotics.

The discovery could potentially play a role heading off a looming threat to public health around the world.

According to the U of S, the World Health Organization has reported that antibiotic resistance is now a major threat to public health. WHO has warned of a return to a pre-antibiotic era where common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades could once again become deadly.

The research team looked at the response of bacteria when it is attacked by antibiotics and found an "SOS response" that allows the cells to mutate, changes that can transform bacteria into a new and antibiotic-resistant form.

"Bacteria have a remarkable ability to acquire resistance against antibiotics," said U of S biochemist Ron Geyer, who led the study published today in the journal Cell Chemical Biology.

"We need new strategies to block development of resistance and to prolong the life of antibiotics, and we believe our work has revealed a promising direction."

Geyer's team found compounds that prevent the so-called "SOS response."

While the results are encouraging, he suggested that much work remains to be done. 

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