IIT Roorkee develops molecule to treat antibiotic resistance in UTIs

Breakthrough: IIT Roorkee researchers discovered a molecule, IITR08367, which is effective in treating antibiotic-resistant urinary tract infections, particularly against Acinetobacter baumannii

Urinary Tract Infection

New Delhi: Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Roorkee (IIT Roorkee) have developed a small molecule, called IITR08367, which holds promise to fight against drug-resistant urinary tract infections (UTIs), particularly those caused by the notorious pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii.

Acinetobacter baumannii is known for its robust defense mechanisms, which include production of biofilm and efflux pumps like AbaF that renders antibiotic like fosfomycin ineffective. Defence of mechanism of pathogen A. baumannii is so strong that treating the patents infected by it becomes a challenging job.

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A team headed by IIT Roorkee Professor Ranjana Pathania has discovered IITR08367, a molecule that inhibits the AbaF efflux pump. IITR08367 makes the antibiotic effective against A. Baumannii by preventing expulsion of fosfomycin from bacterial cells.

According to researchers, the discovery not only revitalizes efficacy of fosfomycin but also addresses the challenge of bacterial biofilm formation, a key factor in antibiotic resistance. The discovery has been published in the prestigious ACS Infectious Diseases journal as a major breakthrough to transform treatment options for UTIs caused by multidrug-resistant A. baumannii.

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In the paper, it has been stated that the molecule has been found safe and effective in preclinical studies, offering hope for more targeted and potent therapies.

Professor Pathania underlined significance of this discovery, stating, “This discovery represents a significant milestone in the fight against antibiotic resistance. By targeting bacterial defense mechanisms, we can enhance the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and pave the way for the development of new treatment strategies.”

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The societal impact of IITR08367 is profound. With antibiotic-resistant infections posing a growing threat to public health worldwide, innovative solutions like this offer hope by preserving the effectiveness of existing antibiotics and addressing the urgent need for new therapeutic options.

Antibiotic resistance is a critical global health issue, with the World Health Organization (WHO) predicting that by 2050, millions of lives could be lost annually due to resistant infections.

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Prompted by the encouraging results, the research team, including Mahak Saini, Amit Gaurav and Arsalan Hussain is now exploring the ways to develop IITR08367 as a therapeutic agent for clinical trials. “This critical phase will assess the molecule’s safety, efficacy, and potential side effects in human patients, bringing us closer to combating antibiotic resistance on a global scale,” said one of the researchers.

The molecule will be available in market in the form of drug once it was found safe for human use during the clinical trial. Director, IIT Roorkee, KK Pant said, “The discovery of IITR08367 opens new horizons in the battle against antibiotic resistance. This breakthrough underscores our commitment to cutting-edge research with real-world impact, addressing global health challenges and advancing human well-being.”

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