Winter
2011

Discovery

Anti-Virulence drugs to treat MRSA

Anti-Virulence drugs to treat MRSA

A researcher at the School of Medicine has identified an alternative treatment option for Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA). Menachem Shoham, PhD, associate professor of biochemistry, has identified new anti-virulence drugs that, without killing the bacteria, could render it harmless by preventing the production of toxins that cause disease.

"Because the survival of the bacteria is not threatened by this new approach," says Shoham, "the development of resistance like that to antibiotics is not anticipated to be a serious problem."

Shoham identified a bacterial protein, AgrA, as the key molecule responsible for the release of toxins. By blocking the activation of AgrA, the new anti-virulence drug would prevent the release of toxins into the blood that can lead to serious infections throughout the body.

The drug could be used prophylactically or as a therapy by itself or in combination with an antibiotic, says Shoham.