An international research team said it has discovered an important signal transmitting pathway in bacteria, which block the bacterial pathogenicity when damaged, suggesting new directions for drug development.
The council said that a research team led by Chou Shan-ho (周三和), a professor at National Chung Hsing University’s Institute of Biochemistry, and Robert Ryan, a professor at the University of Dundee’s College of Life Sciences in the UK, has identified the modulating factor that allows bacteria to gather together causing life-threatening infections.
“Most bacteria are single-celled organisms and their pathogenicity only occur when many of them get together,” Chou said, “so we try to destroy them, by blocking the communication between them, thus allowing our body to have enough time to produce the effective immune reaction for killing the bacteria.”
He said antibiotics in the past remained effective for about 20 to 30 years before bacteria became antibiotics-resistant, but now sometimes it only takes two to three years.
The team’s discovery may contribute to developing antibiotics that will not lead to drug-resistant strains, boost immune responses and become a new effective direction for drug development, he said.
Many drugs today are designed to kill specific disease-causing bacteria. Antibiotics overuse has increased the virulence of drug-resistant strains, the National Science Council said.
A US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report found at least 23,000 Americans die from these infections annually.