Summary- Mohammed Saleem, a professor from Purdue, has found a new method that can treat infections by antibiotic resistant bacteria. The method involves treating the infection with blue light, which strips the bacteria of a pigment necessary for survival in the host. By removing this pigment, the bacteria are weakened to a point that traditional mild antiseptics. This has been found to be effective in mice infected with MRSA, and the researchers are looking forward to human trials.
connections- We have learned that antibiotic resistance is a major area of research of monumental importance. Because blue light is not toxic to the host, it is selective for the pathogen and is an easily accessible method of treating infections on the skin.
critical analysis- It is not explained exactly why the bacteria need the pigment, or how the blue light washes this pigment from the cell. The blue light does not kill the cell, and the use of “mild antiseptics” are still necessary. Depending on what the antiseptics are, this could still contribute to antibiotic resistance.
question- What does the pigment do to help the bacteria live in the host body?
2 Comments for ““Purdue professor discovers new method to treat superbug infections””
Response to Critical Analysis: I second all the questions dbwarner raises in his critical analysis. It is worth noting that this is an article in a university publication. It is not peer reviewed, and contains no links or references to supporting scientific studies.
Question: I found several examples of ways pigments promote bacterial survival in the host. One of the best was an article which describes how a golden pigment reduces neutrophil ability to destroy bacterial cells (Liu GY, et al. Staphylococcus aureus golden pigment impairs neutrophil killing and promotes virulence through its antioxidant activity. J Exp Med. 2005;202:209—215).
This is a very interesting topic because pigment can often seem like it only has a superficial role in the body when it is often linked to important biological functions. I think as the medical field expands and treatments such as blue light become an option it will be interesting to see how effective they are for treating human bacterial issues. Maybe with time blue light will be able to be more successful and used without other antiseptics so that it is not contributing to antibiotic resistance and is still eradicating bacteria.