Researchers at Kansas State University have developed a patent pending novel fluorescence spectroscopic high-throughput screening assay to help companies and academic researchers identify new antibiotics to use against Gram-negative bacteria. This assay finds molecules that block bacterial iron transport and inhibits the Gram-negative bacteria from being able to utilize iron uptake in the host, person or animal, making them ill.
Gram-negative bacteria, of certain types, are becoming resistant to antibiotic drugs. This is a great concern because as available antibiotics are no longer effective against the Gram-negative bacteria, treatment options become limited or nonexistent. Without treatment, there is a threat of increased illnesses and even deaths. The National Institute for Health and the U.S. Public Health Service have focused part of their antibiotic research on these gram-negative resistant bacteria, specifically on the CRE/ESKAPE* pathogens.
*CRE – Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae; ESKAPE – Enterococcus faecium, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumonia, Acinetobacter baumannii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Enterobacter
The current development of this assay has demonstrated efficacy with Escherichia coli (E. coli) pathogens but could be easily adapted to test additional Gram-negative bacterial pathogens. The method could also be adapted to search for iron uptake processes other than those specific to E. coli; this assay can be conceptually applied to CRE/ESKAPE pathogens. Ongoing research is likely to yield data on other pathogenic bacteria in the near future.
-Small amount of cells needed; day-to-day reproducibility of test results
-Testing method is readily adaptable to different pathogens
-High-throughput capability of the test-Potential reduction in illness and death with production of new non-resistant antibiotics
-Identification of new pharmaceutical candidates for humans or animals
-Provisional patent application was filed in July 2015