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Old Drug Has The Potential To Be The New Antibiotics

Update Date: Sep 23, 2014 10:45 AM EDT

An anticonvulsant drug may help in developing a new class of antibiotics, according to a new study. 

The findings of the study are significant because there is growing concern worldwide about how antibiotic resistance is making the cures for infections ineffective. Recently, the World Health Organization declared that antibiotic resistance a major threat to global health security. 

The study found that an anticonvulsant drug called lamotrigine was the first chemical inhibitor of the assembly of ribosomes - the molecular machines in cells that create all proteins - in bacteria. Many antibiotics attack the process of ribosomes, but lamotrigine stopped ribosomes from being created in the first place, according to the study. 

"Ribosome-inhibiting antibiotics have been routinely used for more than 50 years to treat bacterial infections, but inhibitors of bacterial ribosome assembly have waited to be discovered," said Eric Brown, principal investigator of the study and a professor of biochemistry and biomedical sciences at McMaster's Michael G. DeGroote Institute for Infectious Disease Research.

"Such molecules would be an entirely new class of antibiotics, which would get around antibiotic resistance of many bacteria. We found lamotrigine works."

The study is published in the journal eLife

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