Bacteria-killing immune protein paves the way for new infectious disease treatments

Australian researchers have discovered a specific group of bacteria-killing proteins that are native to our immune system. This could lead to the development of more effective drugs that can fight infections such as pneumonia, meningitis and sepsis.

A team from the Australian National University (ANU), whose results were published in Nature Communications, demonstrated the ability of these immune proteins to directly bind to and destroy specific types of bacteria.

Killer proteins not only pave the way for new treatments for bacterial infections, but also show potential in combination with existing antibiotics to reduce antibiotic resistance, thus providing a wider range of therapeutic options.

Lead author Shouya Feng of ANU’s John Curtin School of Medical Research said in a press release that these proteins, known as guanylate-building proteins (GBPs), are responsible for splitting a piece of wood in two with an ax. Said it works by breaking down bacteria in a similar way. .

“Our immune system is equipped with an arsenal that can destroy bacteria. When foreign substances such as bacteria enter the body, the immune system triggers a defensive response,” she said.

“We believe we can extract and harness the power of these immune system proteins, known as GBP1, and use them to treat a wide variety of infections without harming the cells of the body.”

Avoid antibiotic resistance

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study, drug-resistant diseases currently kill around 700,000 people worldwide each year, and that number is expected to rise to around 10 million by 2050.

Co-author of the study, Si Ming Man, says disease-causing bacteria constantly outwit drug treatments with adaptations, and scientists are constantly looking for new ways to develop more effective treatments. said he was looking for

“Over time, antibiotics have been used extensively to treat many different infections, as microbes continually develop resistance to new and existing treatments. It’s becoming less effective, which means microbes are one step ahead of scientists.”

“We are now finding more and more GBPs that can kill many types of drug-resistant bacteria, including bacteria that can cause meningitis, pneumonia and sepsis.”

Mann said the research could lead to an alternative to increasingly overused and ineffective antibiotics by making available new ways to combat these multidrug-resistant infections. Told.

Large-scale lab production and potential for malaria treatment

Feng told The Epoch Times on Monday that he doesn’t need a constant biological source of GBP because the active portion can be synthesized in the lab.

“Having found that a very specific region of this protein is responsible for killing pathogens, synthesizing this small region facilitated its large-scale production and storage,” he said. It needs to be re-refined,” she said.

Feng also said GBP may have potential to treat malaria because it has similar characteristics to bacteria killed by the protein in the lab.

Meanwhile, Professor Mann said the research could lay the groundwork for a new paradigm to inform how best to fight the evolving disease over the next few decades.