A group of researchers at the University of Notre Dame led by an Iranian scientist Shahriar Mobasheri discovered a new class of antibiotics that can treat antibiotic resistant infections such as methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus or MRSA.
The group was led by Shahriar Mobashery and Mayland Chang. The study was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society under the title Discovery of a New Class of Non-beta-lactam Inhibitors of Penicillin-Binding Proteins with Gram-Positive Antibacterial Activity.
The class, called Oxadiazoles, was discovered using a silico screening and showed great promise when it was used to treat methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus in mouse models of the infection. After the researchers tested 1.2 million compounds, they discovered that the oxadiazoles inhibited PB2a, a protein that binds to penicillin, and the biosynthesis of the cell wall that allows MRSA to be resistant to other medications.
The oxadiazoles that were discovered at Notre Dame was also effective if they are taken orally, which is important because currently there is one medication that can be taken by mouth that is designed to treat MRSA.
Greg Crawford, the dean of the College of Science at the University of Notre Dame, said that Mobashery and Chang’s discovery of a new class of compounds that fight drug resistant bacteria such as MRSA could save thousands of lives all over the world.
Crawford also said the college is grateful for their persistence and leadership in combating drug resistance. Chang said that Professor Mobashery has been working on finding the mechanism that causes MRSA to be resistant for a while. Chang continues by saying that as they continue to understand the mechanisms they can create solutions to create compounds that battle MRSA.
Dr. Asad Ansari, who treats pediatric infectious diseases, said that the new class of antibiotics is a different way to treat MRSA.