St. Jude creates promising new antibiotics

Richard Lee, PhD

Antibiotic resistance is a growing global concern, especially in bacteria that cause serious diseases, such as tuberculosis (TB). TB kills 1.3 million people a year, and extremely drug-resistant TB has been reported in dozens of countries.

St. Jude Children's Research Hospital scientists recently led a project to re-engineer an existing weak antibiotic into a TB killer. Chemical changes to the original drug prevent TB bacteria from flushing the new antibiotic out of their system.

The new antibiotics work well against drug-resistant TB, and appear to be safe and effective in laboratory studies. “We are now working towards the next key step: testing these antibiotics in a clinical trial of patients with drug-resistant TB,” said Richard Lee, PhD, of St. Jude Chemical Biology and Therapeutics.

The findings were reported in Nature Medicine.

January 27, 2014

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