A team led by scientists in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania has engineered powerful new antimicrobial molecules from toxic proteins found in wasp venom. The team hopes to develop the molecules into new bacteria-killing drugs, an important advancement considering increasing numbers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria which can cause illness such as sepsis and tuberculosis.
In the study, published today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers altered a highly toxic small protein from a common Asian wasp species, Vespula lewisii, the Korean yellow-jacket wasp. The alterations enhanced the molecule’s ability to kill bacterial cells while greatly reducing its ability to harm human cells. In animal models, the scientists showed that this family of new antimicrobial molecules made with these alterations could protect mice from otherwise lethal bacterial infections.
There is an urgent need for new drug treatments for bacterial infections, as
Every year more than 250,000 people undergo surgery for appendicitis, making it one of the 20 most common surgeries performed in the United States.
In the largest randomized U.S. study of appendicitis published today in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers from Henry Ford Health System and 24 other sites around the U.S. report that seven in 10 patients who received antibiotics avoided surgery and that patients who took antibiotics for symptom relief fared no worse in the short term than those who underwent surgery.
Still, researchers cautioned that taking antibiotics for appendicitis is not for everyone and advised patients to consult with their physician.
“The significance of this study means that surgeons and patients now have more options for the treatment of appendicitis,” says J.H. “Pat” Patton, M.D., medical director of Surgical Services for Henry Ford Health System and a study co-investigator. “We now know that we