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Synbody Assisted MRSA Growth Inhibition

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Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a major challenge to healthcare professionals. Treatment of MRSA is expensive, and otherwise avoidable deaths occur every year in the United States due to MRSA infections. Additionally, such infections lengthen patients’ stays in hospitals,

Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) infections are a major challenge to healthcare professionals. Treatment of MRSA is expensive, and otherwise avoidable deaths occur every year in the United States due to MRSA infections. Additionally, such infections lengthen patients’ stays in hospitals, keeping them out of work and adversely affecting the economy. Beta lactam antibiotics used to be highly effective against S. aureus infections, but resistance mechanisms have rendered methicillin, oxacillin, and other beta lactam antibiotics ineffective against these infections. A promising avenue for MRSA treatment lies in the use of synthetic antibodies—molecules that bind with specificity to a given compound. Synbody 14 is an example of such a synbody, and has been designed with MRSA treatment in mind. Mouse model studies have even associated Syn14 treatment with reduced weight loss and morbidity in MRSA-infected mice. In this experiment, in vitro activity of Syn 14 and oxacillin was assessed. Early experiments measured Syn 14 and oxacillin’s effectiveness in inhibiting colony growth in growth media, mouse serum, and mouse blood. Syn14 and oxacillin had limited efficacy against USA300 strain MRSA, though interestingly it was noted that Syn14 outperformed oxacillin in mouse serum and whole mouse blood, indicating the benefits of its binding properties. A second experiment measured the impact that a mix of oxacillin and Syn 14 had on colony growth, as well as the effect of adding them simultaneously or one after the other. While use of either bactericidal alone did not show a major inhibitory effect on USA300 MRSA colony growth, their use in combination showed major decreases in colony growth. Moreover, it was found that unlike other combination therapies, Syn14 and oxacillin did not require simultaneous addition to MRSA cells to achieve inhibition of cell growth. They merely required that Syn14 be added first. This result suggests Syn14’s possible utility in therapeutic settings, as the time insensitivity of synergy removes a major hurdle to clinical use—the difficulty in ensuring that two drugs reach an affected area at the same time. Syn14 remains a promising antimicrobial agent, and further study should focus on its precise mechanism of action and suitability in clinical treatment of MRSA infections.

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2015-05