Antibiotics: New active ingredient developed against resistant bacteria

Antibiotics: New active ingredient developed against resistant bacteria

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Antibiotics: new active substances against resistant bacteria in sight?

Antibiotic resistance is on the rise worldwide. They threaten to destroy or at least reduce important successes in the fight against dangerous infectious diseases. A research team from Germany has now developed a new, promising class of active substances against resistant bacteria.

As the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) reports in a communication, MLU researchers have developed a new, promising class of agents against resistant bacteria. In the first tests in cell cultures and in insects, the substances were at least as effective as common antibiotics.

New active ingredients needed

Regardless of whether staphylococci or the dreaded MRSA germs: resistant bacteria are an increasing problem for doctors and patients worldwide. “In principle, if an antibiotic loses its effectiveness, everyone is at risk. Infections with resistant pathogens are usually more difficult to treat and can take a more complicated course, ”explains the Robert Koch Institute (RKI).

Another problem is that several large pharmaceutical companies announced a few weeks ago that they would further reduce their own research work on new antibiotics. "However, in order to be able to reliably and reliably treat infectious diseases in the long term, we need new active substances to which bacteria have not yet developed resistance," explains Prof. Dr. Andreas Hilgeroth from the Institute of Pharmacy at the MLU.

Together with scientists from the University of Greifswald and the Julius Maximilians University in Würzburg, he is working on such novel active substances in a research project funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

As few side effects as possible

The researchers have now developed new active ingredients that attack a special enzyme that only occurs in this form in the disease-causing bacteria: the so-called pyruvate kinase. This plays an important role in the metabolism. The idea: If the metabolism of the bacteria is hindered, it ultimately makes them harmless.

“This makes pyruvate kinase an ideal target for new active ingredients. In the best case, the new substances only act on the bacterial enzyme and thus the bacteria, so that there are as few side effects as possible. This new target structure can also be used to break existing antibiotic resistance, ”says Hilgeroth. The team reports on the scientific work in the journal "Antibiotics".

It is still years before the drug is ready for the market

In cell tests and initial tests on the larvae of the Great Wax Moth, a model organism for the life sciences, the research team was able to confirm the effectiveness of their new substances. According to the information, the best compounds achieved at least as good results as conventional antibiotics. A patent has also been filed for these active ingredients.

"These first results make us confident that we are on the right track," said Hilgeroth. However, the active substances still have to go through numerous other tests before they can also be tested in large-scale clinical studies on humans. It can take more than ten years before the substances from the researchers from Halle, Würzburg and Greifswald become a marketable drug. (ad)

Author and source information

This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.


  • Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU): Antibiotics: New active ingredient also works with resistant bacteria, (accessed: November 11, 2019), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU)
  • Antibiotics: Novel Small-molecule Antibacterials against Gram-positive Pathogens of Staphylococcus and Enterococcus Species, (access: November 11, 2019), Antibiotics
  • Robert Koch Institute: Basic knowledge of antibiotic resistance, (accessed: November 11, 2019), Robert Koch Institute

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