The scientists at the Scripps Research Institute recently discovered technique for modifying vancomycin, which is an important antibiotic. The modification will make vancomycin less vulnerable to resistance and more powerful. This advancement was announced in a study known as Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by the scientists of the institute. Dale Boger, a chemistry professor at the institute said that they have a found a molecule that they are looking to develop pre-clinically and introduce it to the clinic. He further added that the molecule will also serve as model referring to which other different antibiotics can be enhanced and improved.
Modifications made in Vancomycin
The modified version vancomycin is substantially more effective than the actual drug and can also overcome several pathogens which are vancomycin-resistant. Though the modified version of the drug has only been tested in the vitro, the lead author of the study believes that the underlying science is a potential chance to make other existing antibiotics more durable and powerful. Dale Boger says that they initially altered a single atom in the drug that neutralizes the resistance mechanism of the bacteria. Fundamentally, this type of pocket modification restores the primary weapon of vancomycin against bacteria, i.e. the ability to impede the cell wall maturation of the bacteria.
Further Challenges for Scientists
The upcoming challenge for the team of scientists in the institute is to make this advanced version of vancomycin in large quantities for it to be tested in animals first and then on humans. Till now, they have been producing the molecules using starch, which is both a time consuming and expensive procedure. The scientists are looking forward to develop semi-synthetic ways for creating molecules from vancomycin.