[Ip-health] NIH funded invention is "Hope for a Powerful New Antibiotic". . . "from a pile of dirt"

Jamie Love james.love at keionline.org
Wed Jan 7 14:00:59 PST 2015


>From the story:

"The research was paid for by the National Institutes of Health and the
German government (some co-authors work at the University of Bonn).
Northeastern University holds a patent on the method of producing drugs and
licensed the patent to a private company, NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, in
Cambridge, Mass., which owns the rights to any compounds produced. Dr.
Lewis is a paid consultant to the company."

Probably referring to patent number 7,011,957, "Isolation and cultivation
of microorganisms from natural environments and drug discovery based
thereon"  which states:  "Part of the work leading to this invention was
carried out with United States Government support provided under a grant
from the National Science Foundation, Grant No. OCE0102248."

http://www.nytimes.com/2015/01/08/health/from-a-pile-of-dirt-hope-for-a-powerful-new-antibiotic.html

>From a Pile of Dirt, Hope for a Powerful New Antibiotic


By DENISE GRADY
JAN. 7, 2015

An unusual method for producing antibiotics may help to solve an urgent
global problem: the rise in infections that resist treatment with commonly
used drugs, and the lack of new antibiotics to replace ones that no longer
work.

The method, which extracts drugs from bacteria that live in dirt, has
yielded a powerful new antibiotic, researchers reported in the journal
Nature on Wednesday. The new drug, teixobactin, was tested in mice and
easily cured severe infections, with no side effects.

Better still, the researchers said, the drug works in a way that makes it
very unlikely that bacteria will become resistant to it. And the method
developed to produce the drug has the potential to unlock a trove of
natural compounds to fight infections and cancer — molecules that were
previously beyond scientists’ reach because the microbes that produce them
could not be grown in the laboratory.

. . .    [snip]


Scientists and drug companies have for decades exploited the microbes’
natural arsenal, often by mining soil samples, and discovered lifesaving
antibiotics like penicillin, streptomycin and tetracycline, as well as some
powerful chemotherapy drugs for cancer. But disease-causing organisms have
become resistant to many existing drugs, and there has been a major
obstacle to finding replacements, Dr. Lewis said: About 99 percent of the
microbial species in the environment are bacteria that do not grow under
usual laboratory conditions.

Dr. Lewis and his colleagues found a way to grow them. The process involves
diluting a soil sample — the one that yielded teixobactin came from “a
grassy field in Maine” — and placing it on specialized equipment Then, the
secret to success is putting the equipment into a box full of the same soil
that the sample came from.

“Essentially, we’re tricking the bacteria,” Dr. Lewis said. Back in their
native dirt, they divide and grow into colonies. Once the colonies form,
Dr. Lewis said, the bacteria are “domesticated,” and researchers can scoop
them up and start growing them in petri dishes in the laboratory.

The research was paid for by the National Institutes of Health and the
German government (some co-authors work at the University of Bonn).
Northeastern University holds a patent on the method of producing drugs and
licensed the patent to a private company, NovoBiotic Pharmaceuticals, in
Cambridge, Mass., which owns the rights to any compounds produced. Dr.
Lewis is a paid consultant to the company.

Teixobactin is the most promising candidate isolated from 10,000 strains of
bacteria that the researchers screened. In test tubes, it killed various
types of staph and strep, as well as anthrax and tuberculosis.

Tested in mice, it cleared strep infections and staph, including a strain
that was drug-resistant. It works against bacteria in a group known as
“Gram-positive,” but not against microbes that are “Gram-negative,” which
include some that are major causes of drug resistant pneumonia, gonorrhea
and infections of the bladder and bloodstream. Dr. Lewis said researchers
were trying to modify the drug to make it work against Gram-negative
infections.

Twenty-five other drug candidates were also identified, but most had
drawbacks like toxicity or insolubility, Dr. Lewis said, adding that one,
though toxic, may work against cancer and will be tested further.

  [snip]

-- 
James Love.  Knowledge Ecology International
http://www.keionline.org/donate.html
KEI DC tel: +1.202.332.2670, US Mobile: +1.202.361.3040, Geneva Mobile:
+41.76.413.6584, twitter.com/jamie_love



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