FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 30, 2016

New study shines light on a treatment of staph infections for CGD patients

A new study conducted by the National Institute of Health's National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney diseases found that white blood cells fight off staphylococcus aureus when missing a specific protein.

The researchers used a mouse model, observing both healthy mice and those diagnosed with chronic granulomatous disease, a genetic disorder that causes recurring, life-threatening infections. The results of the study were published online in The Journal of Clinical Investigations.

"Although treatment for CGD has greatly improved over the past several years, the disease remains challenging," staff scientist and lead author Dr. Wenli Liu said. "Our research suggests a novel strategy that might pave the way toward developing new treatments to fight against common and often deadly infections."

The researchers found that white blood cells missing a specific protein fight off the staphylococcus infection better than when they are whole. This may prove to be a huge step towards the development of an alternative drug for staph infections and methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus, as staphylococcus can sometimes become resistant to antibiotics.

"Over the years, MRSA and other bacteria have evolved to be resistant to many antibiotics," NIDDK Director and study lead Griffin P. Rodgers said. "This study suggests an alternative approach to combat infection by strengthening white blood cell capabilities from within the cells, in addition to resorting to traditional antibiotic treatment."

The research team is currently investigating how human cells respond to immunity to and from drug-resistant bacteria. The study was supported by the Intramural Research Program at NIDDK.