SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 25, 2016

Chemist receives patent for drug that solves antibiotic resistance

A chemist from the University of Copenhagen recently obtained a U.S. patent for a drug that can make previously drug-resistant bacteria responsive to antibiotics, the university said on Monday.

Jørn Bolstad Christensen and his colleagues isolated a substance that blocks a key mechanism in bacteria that allows the pathogens to shed antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria develop the ability to use an efflux pump to shed bacteria-killing substance before they are damaged. The substance isolated by Christensen's team can block the efflux pump and make bacteria susceptible to antibiotics.

"You could say that we cure bacteria of their resistance, and slay them with antibiotics," Christensen said.

Christensen worked with doctors from the King Christian X's Hospital for Rheumatic Diseases in Gråsten, Denmark and the University of Southern Denmark to determine that Thioridazin, an antipsychotic drug, was able to kill bacteria without noticeable harmful effects on humans. The team isolated the milder part of the substance, called JEK 47, giving the medication significantly less effect on the human brain.

"We now have a substance that is able to block the bacteria's efflux pump," Christensen said. "At very most, recipients of the medication may become slightly sluggish. This is also because very small doses are needed to affect the bacteria."

Christensen and his colleagues are seeking investors for the anti-resistance medication.