Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland Coláiste Ríoga na Máinleá in Éirinn

Nanomedicines against multi-drug resistant bacteria

Marc Devocelle, Pharmaceutical and Medicinal Chemistry. Keywords: Infection & Immunity, Antibiotic resistance, Antimicrobial Peptides, Prodrugs and nanomedicines.

Infections caused by antibiotic resistant bacteria have been listed as top priority diseases by the World Health Organisation in terms of their threat to global public health if the need for novel medicines is not met. Bacterial pathogens exhibiting high-levels of resistance to multiple, including last resort, antibiotics have emerged and there is a lack of novel-mechanism antibacterials in development that specifically target these pathogens.
Host defence peptides (HDPs), or antimicrobial peptides, have been recognised as promising candidates for the development of novel antibiotics which may circumvent the mechanisms of antibiotic resistance, but their clinical development has been hampered by their unknown toxicity when administered systemically. The host laboratory has developed an approach mimicking the natural control mechanism exerted on HDPs, to target their delivery to specific pathogens. In this approach, the peptides are produced as inactive precursors which can be selectively converted into their active form by an enzyme confined to the site of infection. Opportunities exist to develop novel peptide-based antimicrobial agents specifically targeting pathogens listed in the top 6 organisms to which new antibiotics are urgently needed. Some of the candidates produced through this approach can be described as nanomedicines, according the European Science Foundation definition.

Mentors Marc Devocelle. mdevocelle@rcsi.ie, +353 1 4022176.