Skip to comments.Breast Milk Protein HAMLET Reverses Antibiotic Resistance in MRSA, Pneumococcus
Posted on 05/30/2013 12:42:41 PM PDT by neverdem
According to a new study reported in the open-access journal PLoS ONE, a human breast milk protein complex called HAMLET can help reverse the antibiotic resistance of bacterial species, including penicillin-resistant Streptococcus pneumoniae and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus.
In petri dish and animal experiments, HAMLET (Human Alpha-lactalbumin Made Lethal to Tumor Cells) increased bacteria’s sensitivity to multiple classes of antibiotics, such as penicillin and erythromycin.
The effect was so pronounced that bacteria including penicillin-resistant S. pneumoniae and methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA) regained sensitivity to the antibiotics they were previously able to beat, said lead author Laura Marks and her colleagues from the University at Buffalo.
In a 2012 study published in PLoS ONE, the team described HAMLET’s effects against S. pneumoniae, also Acinetobacter baumanii and Moraxella catarrhalis. The newly-published PLoS ONE paper details proteins effects on MRSA.
“HAMLET has the potential minimize the concentrations of antibiotics we need to use to fight infections, and enable us to use well-established antibiotics against resistant strains again,” explained senior author Prof Anders Hakansson.
The findings hold great promise in an era when hospitals are struggling to contain drug-resistant bacteria like MRSA, the culprit behind lethal hospital-acquired staph infections.
Bacteria seem to have difficulty developing resistance to HAMLET, dying in huge numbers even after being exposed to HAMLET for many generations.
“Unlike synthetic drugs, HAMLET is a naturally occurring human milk protein-lipid complex, and so is not associated with the types of toxic side effects that we so frequently see with the high-powered antibiotics needed to kill drug-resistant organisms,” Marks added.
The idea to test HAMLET in combination with other antibiotics was inspired, in part, by a presentation Marks saw on using drug cocktails to treat HIV.
“What really hit home for me in this lecture was the idea of using drug combinations where each drug had a different mechanism that could enhance the action of the other drug as an appealing way to optimize therapy for resistant organisms,” Marks said.
“I was immediately curious to see if using HAMLET together with existing therapies could result in synergistic interactions.”
Bibliographic information: Marks LR et al. 2013. Sensitization of Staphylococcus aureus to Methicillin and Other Antibiotics In Vitro and In Vivo in the Presence of HAMLET. PLoS ONE 8 (5): e63158; doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063158
O, that this too too solid flesh would melt
Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d
His canon ‘gainst self-slaughter!
GEE It’s almost like there was a DESIGNER!
Hat tip yefragetuwrabrumuy
Just how would you deploy such a combination in drug form?
If I had to try HAMLET in people, I’d try subcutaneously and intradermally before intravenously. It’s normally seen by a male as an infant in their gut. It’s possible that it could be percieved by some immune systms as a foreign protein. I’d have prepared for a severe allergic reaction.
Interesting. I wonder what the mechanism of action is.
The penicillins work by inhibiting bacterial cell wall polymerization. Bacteria counter this with the beta-lactamase enzyme, which cuts open a ring structure in the penecillins, making them ineffective.
Erythromycin has a completely different mode of action. It stops protein synthesis by interacting with the ribosome. Bacteria have different ways of countering this.
I find the idea of a protein-lipid complex that restores antibiotic sensitivity to such widely different antibiotics in bacteria having such different mechanisms of resistance rather amazing. Too amazing, in fact. I’d really like to see more studies and find out what is really going on here. It’s possible that all of the antibacterial activity is due to the protein complex and none of the antibiotics are necessary at all. But since bacteria will still grow in breast milk, this protein complex must be at very low concentration in milk.
Never mind me here. I’m just thinking out loud, trying to figure this out. Maybe I should just read the paper...
FReepmail me if you want on or off my combined microbiology/immunology ping list.
Well I knew it could not be administered orally because it is a protean and would simply be digested.
Intravenous seemed fraught with hazards.
Ping! (Thanks, neverdem!)
Here's another interesting one I read recently:
Your body harbors trillions of bacteria that have profound effects on your health, your weight, and even your mood
By The Week Staff
May 11, 2013
There are at least 10,000 different species of bacteria inside your body right now.
Don't bacteria make people sick?
Many of them do, and antibiotics that kill them have saved countless lives. But over the past decade, researchers have discovered that the human body hosts 100 trillion mostly benign bacteria, which help digest food, program the immune system, prevent infection, and even influence mood and behavior. The bacteria living on and in us make up our "microbiome," an ecosystem that plays a role, scientists believe, in many conditions that genes and environmental factors alone can't explain, including obesity, autism, depression, asthma, and even cancer. The discovery of the microbiome, said Michael Fischbach, a bioengineer at the University of California, San Francisco, has been "very much like finding an organ we didn't know we had."
Where is the microbiome?
Bacteria thrive throughout our bodies in our mouths and lungs, on our skin and teeth, and especially in our guts. The Human Microbiome Project, a government-supported effort to map our bacterial ecosystems, has discovered that people harbor 10 bacterial cells for every human cell. Every body hosts at least 10,000 different species of bacteria, contributing up to five pounds to body weight. "Half of your stool is not leftover food. It is microbial biomass," said project director Lita Proctor. Last year scientists presented evidence that everyone has one of three gut bacterial profiles, or "enterotypes," characterized by high levels of specific bacterial species. Some argue that enterotypes are as distinct as blood types, and that learning more about them will help us design better drugs and target them more effectively.
How do bacteria influence health?
Microbiome research is in its infancy, but there is already evidence that an imbalance of gut flora may cause gastrointestinal problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and Crohn's disease. Bacteria may also help calibrate our basal metabolism. When obese people undergo gastric bypass surgery to lose weight, scientists have observed, their gut bacteria become more like those harbored by thin people, contributing to weight loss. Microbes can even influence mental states by encouraging neurons in the intestines to signal the brain to alter hormone levels. Studies in mice have shown that changes in gut bacteria can relieve or cause depression and anxiety. It has also been shown that autistic children who frequently suffer from gastrointestinal problems often carry a type of gut bacteria that non-autistic children don't.
Why the difference in bacteria?
Some 80 percent of an individual's gut flora comes from his or her mother. A newborn exits the womb microbe-free, but is colonized by the mother's vaginal bacteria as it passes through the birth canal. Babies born via caesarean section, it turns out, enter life with an entirely different, and less diverse, collection of bacteria, which may help explain why they're at increased risk of asthma, obesity, and type-1 diabetes. Breast milk, unlike formula, also delivers maternal bacteria that help the immune system develop.
Can the microbiome change?
Yes, for good and for ill. Diet plays a major role in determining what bacteria people host. A recent study found that when certain gut bacteria feed on compounds in red meat or egg yolk, they produce an artery-hardening compound called TMAO. People who rarely eat red meat or egg yolks don't carry the same TMAO-producing bacteria and so can eat those foods occasionally without increasing their heart disease risk. Older people who live independently tend to have more diverse microbiomes than their frailer peers who live in nursing homes maybe because of their different diets but it's unclear whether a narrower microbiome causes declining health or is a consequence of it. Antibiotic use can also reduce gut flora. Researchers are still trying to determine what factors "could set the microbiota in a good direction versus a bad direction," said University of Colorado biochemist Rob Knight. "There are very few cases where cause and effect are known."
Can bacteria be used to treat illness?
In at least one case, they already are. C. difficile infections caused by a bacterium that can take over the gut cause severe diarrhea and kill 14,000 Americans per year. C. difficile is notoriously difficult to eradicate with antibiotics. But researchers have discovered that transplanting a healthy person's stool, via a tube inserted into the patient's stomach, cures the infection almost instantly by repopulating the patient's microbiome with healthy bacteria. Tellingly, C. difficile infections often begin after a person takes antibiotics to treat an unrelated condition. Some experts suggest that the widespread use of antibiotics, which kill good bacteria along with the harmful bacteria they target, could help explain the skyrocketing rates of asthma, obesity, and autism. "Whenever they are used, there is collateral damage, " said New York University microbiologist Martin J. Blaser. "And we are only now fully learning how severe that damage has been." Scientists are now trying to figure out what constitutes a healthy microbiome, in hopes they can treat health problems by tweaking the mix of a person's bacterial species. "The prospects here are endless," Blaser said. "This is the most exciting and important work of my lifetime."
The probiotics boom
Pills, drinks, and yogurts containing probiotics live, beneficial bacteria have become big business. In 2011, global sales of probiotics reached $28 billion and are expected to reach $42 billion in 2016. But experts remain skeptical of commercial claims, often unverified by clinical trial, that they bolster the immune system, improve digestion, and generally optimize our health. A review of probiotic research by scientists at Yale found that certain strains did appear to reduce diarrhea and alleviate irritable bowel syndrome, and other studies showed that they could shorten colds. But researchers still aren't sure which bacterial strains are helpful for which conditions, and how they interact with a given person's existing microbiome. "The science has been shoddy and flimsy," said bioengineer Michael Fischbach. Probiotics may well be the future of medicine, but they should "be more complicated and also more rigorously tested than today's probiotics," he says. "They'll be something that your doctor prescribes."
(I recently read in another article that TMAO is routinely added to energy drinks.)
Silly boy. There's no designer.
Dontcha know that it all just happened once a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away.......?
Only an ignurint creationist would see intelligence in order and complexity. The rest of the intellectual world has been educated beyond recognizing the obvious.
Thanks for the ping!
You’re Welcome, Alamo-Girl!
Some experts suggest that the widespread use of antibiotics, which kill good bacteria along with the harmful bacteria they target, could help explain the skyrocketing rates of asthma, obesity, and autism.
It might go farther than that.
Speculating, here, but could our "antibacterial" culture be causing other disorders such as ADHD or Depression by changing the profile of bacterial emissions (for want of a better word) in the organism?
Does our sense of well-being or ability to pay attention depend on bacterial secretions or the consumption of harmful substance by the bacteria in our systems, or the absence of those processes?
The relationship may be a greater symbiosis than we think, and the field may be a rich one for research.
Pica (eating dirt or other odd substances) may be related as well.
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