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Scientists Find Unique Bacteria at Gaviota State Beach

San Diego Researchers Uncover Bacteria That Could Cure Deadly Human Infections


Saturday, August 3, 2013
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A microorganism that could kill deadly infections and even anthrax was found in the sands of Santa Barbara County’s own Gaviota State Beach.

UC San Diego researchers discovered a previously unidentified species of bacteria that produces an antibiotic now known as anthracimycin. Initial testing indicates that anthracimycin could be capable of curing deadly anthrax infections and potentially fatal MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) infections, which yielded a higher human death toll in 2007 than HIV/AIDS infections, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

William Fenical, director of the UCSD Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine, said that although anthracimycin is related to the common antibiotic streptomycin, it is structurally and chemically different and had not been previously discovered. He explained, “It belongs to a common group, but there was no evidence that it was discovered in the past.”

The microorganism was found at Gaviota State Beach by Chris Kauffman, a researcher at the UCSD Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and was tested by Fenical’s research team at the Scripps Center for Marine Biotechnology and Biomedicine and San Diego-based company Trius Therapeutics.

So far, the infection-treating abilities of anthracimycin seem promising, as the antibiotic was 25 to 40 times more effective than common antiobiotics when treating anthrax and MRSA infections, which Fenical said are deadly and particularly difficult to treat. “It’s a highly drug-resistant infection that humans get, and it can be fatal,” Fenical said. “We found that this antibiotic, in an animal model, is effective at curing this infection.”

During testing, 90 percent of MRSA-infected mice were successfully cured with anthracimycin, and Fenical said such a high rate of success in animal testing is “extremely indicative” that the antibiotic would also cure human diseases at such a rate.

Due to the biologically unique nature of the newly found microorganism, researchers say there is potential for new drugs to be developed using anthracimycin and its unforeseen treatment abilities.

Results of this study were published earlier this month in an issue of the German academic journal Angewandte Chemie.

Comments

Independent Discussion Guidelines

Wow! MRSA is the cause of most infections in hospitals and long-term care facilities and causes more deaths than AIDS.

14noscams (anonymous profile)
August 3, 2013 at 7:53 p.m. (Suggest removal)

While this is not available as a drug yet - it is silly to expect that so soon after discovery - it is probably on the road to development for use:

"“The real importance of this work is the fact that Anthracimycin has a new and unique chemical structure,” explained Prof Fenical, who is a senior author of a paper reporting the discovery in the journal Angewandte Chemie."
"“The finding is a basic research discovery, which could lead to testing and development, and eventually a drug.”"

One of the authors is from Trius Therapeutics, San Diego, CA.

(PS. It is nice to read comments that are not junior-high level personal attacks. Thanks, 14noscams)

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 6:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

This is a great discovery.

howgreenwasmyvalley (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 9:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

That is not the reason new antibiotics have not been developed. And google will provide the answer why not.

Btw, they could make a fortune on anti-MRSA alone.

And try not to be personal in replying - stick to the facts.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 10:44 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Regardless of the potential efficacy of anthracimyin in humans, one thing remains consistent: if the projections for profitability re. big pharma are "insufficient, and/or not quick enough", then forget about any "magic bullet" as regards treating MRSA and others - let your expectations not become a prison.

The rules of capitalism dictate that the requirement of *maximum profitability* for the corporation and its shareholders outweigh (specifically in this case) public health concerns. The pharmaceutical companies are only there for one primary purpose - as is any business - and that is to make a profit for its shareholders. They are not there to cure or treat people - that is only the perceived result of their business activity. It's the same with any aspect of the privately run US health care structure - the sole aim is to make the largest profit in the shortest time. A parallel is the US prison industrial complex - now largely in the hands of private corporations, the aim is to generate as many prisoners as possible, for profit - and now the US has more people behind bars, in proportion to its population, than any other nation on Earth - by far.

Please don't read a "good or evil" aspect to this - corporations are inanimate bodies (ie not people) and do not possess any conscious intent of their own - that's just the way it is. If we are to enjoy the fruits of capitalism, then we have to pay the resulting penalty - which in the case of climate change, may be terminal.

bloggulator (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 11:36 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Damn, that was a good description of what we're up against bloggulator.

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 11:49 a.m. (Suggest removal)

Google: "restraint"

Ken_Volok (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

An antibiotic that can be used against MRSA would be awesome But the way antibiotics have historically been over-prescribed in the US, it might just be a matter of time before the next resistant strain evolves. It's a race where the lead keeps changing.

This lends weight to the notion we shouldn't be destroying habitats and species willy nilly for man's convenience because the next scientific breakthrough might be inspired by nature.

Agreed we need to de-emphasize the profit motive in the US health care system. This should not be seen as politically-ispired "socialism" but as a way to get medical care to those who need it, not just to those who can afford it.

EastBeach (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 1:46 p.m. (Suggest removal)

It has been said that the prototype for the telescope was found in the sands of Scandinavian beaches about 1000 years ago.

billclausen (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 4:18 p.m. (Suggest removal)

" A parallel is the US prison industrial complex - now largely in the hands of private corporations" is misleading.

There are several states that have banned private prisons, and studies have shown that they are not cost effective. There sre still many public prisons.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_...

And there are many states (CA) that are trying to reduce prison population, not fast enough, but doing so.

While the medical industry is mostly a disgrace with its profiteering, this drug will be developed and made available to the public. What I do agree with, is that the use of the drug could be a problem as other antibiotics have become a problem. There are actually other effective methods of dealing with MRSA in hospitals.

tabatha (anonymous profile)
August 4, 2013 at 7:08 p.m. (Suggest removal)

bloggulator, it is amazing how far off someone can be with your understanding of the medical industry.

Capitalism dictates that the corporations increase profitability : Correct

Capitalism dictates that a single corporation can use the monopoly the state has on violence to exclude everybody else from utilizing their own property to provide products and services to other individuals in the most efficient way possible : INCORRECT!!

What you refer to as "capitalism" is actually fascism, or corporatism at least. Free market capitalism would allow several companies to come out with products and services and compete on price and availability. In the free market, this product would already be available to the public!!

Your biggest problem is that you think our current system = free market capitalism when it is about as far from free market capitalism as you can get!! You probably think that just because the state allows you to buy any color sock you want we must have a free market. I'm sorry, but you've fallen for the propaganda that the establishment has fed to you in order to prop up the false left-right paradigm.

Until you start talking about freedom and liberty of not only the individual but the business, as long as they are not infringing on the rights of others (no polluting your neighbor's land or beach, etc..) then you are fighting on the same team as the establishment.

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 5, 2013 at 11:45 a.m. (Suggest removal)

EastBeach, you are wrong about how to get the best medical service to the most amount of people at the lowest cost. You have to RE-emphasize costs in order to bring them down so that medical care can become affordable for everybody again - THEN if you have a few people who can't afford care it won't be too expensive to setup a program to help them. Right now NOBODY can afford care, even if you're rich it is completely unaffordable out of pocket which means everybody is paying for it through taxes and insanely high medical premiums.

The thing is, the government cannot properly dictate medical prices because they have no idea what they should be to begin with. So either they are going to overprice the services (especially those who provide medical services and are friends of those who make the government rules/regulations/set prices) and we will have to pay more or they will make the price too low and it will become overused and there will be shortages. Only the free market can properly determine costs. But right now we have corporate insurance - your health insurance is tied to your company because they get tax breaks and individuals do not so nobody shops for health insurance, they shop for a job - nobody shops for healthcare because they get full health insurance through their company on the cheap. We need to get off the corporate health care model and get people back buying individual medical plans and shopping for health care services. This will bring prices down drastically and the costs of medical care will once again become reasonable and within reach for the average individual with or without insurance - insurance will be used primarily for catastrophic care, diseases and accidents, etc..

loonpt (anonymous profile)
August 5, 2013 at 11:57 a.m. (Suggest removal)

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