'Un-killable' Drug-Tolerant P. Aeruginosa Bacteria Can Be Killed After All

Researchers have discovered a promising cellular target that could expand the utility of current antibiotics targeting the bacteria or see the creation of more effective ones.

Canadian scientists have identified a new way to fight a previously drug-tolerant bacteria and enhance the efficacy of antibiotic therapy.

Pseudomonas Aeruginosa, a bacterium that was once deemed as “un-killable” by scientists can, in fact, be killed, according to a new study by scientists.

So, what is Pseudomonas Aeruginosa?

For those of you who are new to the world of bacteria or science in broad terms, this bacterium has been deemed as invincible by researchers due to its ability to survive in challenging environments easily. It afflicts a wide variety of diseases in animals, plants as well as humans and is particularly dangerous in patients whose immune system has been compromised.

It can cause a variety of serious infectious diseases and has the potential to exacerbate an already sick person. This pathogen is also quite versatile and has massive genetic flexibility. This allows it to live in risky environments without any worry.

Features of Pseudomonas Aeruginosa

This “Nightmare Bacteria” as scientists call it has the tendency of growing slowly. Statistics estimate roughly 51,000 cases of infections are reported yearly, and it is the cause of as many as 400 plus deaths every year. 

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As shared by Dr. Dao Nguyen of the McGill University: “Many bacteria, such as P. Aeruginosa, when they grow slowly or do not grow at all, become tolerant to antibiotics. This is a crucial problem because many chronic infections are caused by bacteria that are slow growing or enter a dormant state when they reside in a living host, and this causes treatments to fail or infections to relapse in patients.”   

Findings of the study

The study of the bacterium proved to be quite favorable in terms of broadening the horizons of the scientists regarding this intangible pathogen. The scientists learned that Pseudomonas Aeruginosa shows signs of vulnerability when it is deficient in nutrients and thus, under a significant amount of stress.

To evade this weakness, the bacterium utilizes a defense enzyme in addition to a stress signaling system through which it becomes quite susceptible to being attacked and affected by antibiotics. This is a key breakthrough in the field of medicine as it indicates this deadly bacteria can now definitely be killed and defeated.

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“Up until now antibiotic tolerance in slow-growing bacteria was widely attributed to the fact that targets of antibiotics were not available or inactive in ‘dormant’ cells. With this research, we have shown there is more to it than that. We identified a new link between the stress defense enzyme, the regulation of membrane permeability and antibiotic tolerance. In the long run, the discovery of this promising cellular target could expand the utility of our antibiotics and make new ones more effective,” said Dr. Nguyen.

Via: McGill University Health Center

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