Home Conferences Contact Us Continuing Education Jobs Weekly News Archives Readership Profile

Monthly News Archives Pharmacy Awards Search Site Search Magazine Archives



30 November 2001 News Update


A new generation of antibiotics to combat hospital "superbugs'' as well as tuberculosis and salmonellas are being developed by Dr Jim Naismith of St Andrews University, Scotland.

Superbugs such as MRSA (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and other antibiotic-tolerant bacteria are found increasingly in hospital intensive-care units where the most vulnerable are treated.

In many developing countries, drug-tolerant bacteria are now endemic. Bacterial infection has re-emerged as a serious health problem, particularly because pathogens develop resistance to conventional antibiotics.

Dr Naismith and his colleagues are using micro-organisms and structural biology to study the synthesis of carbohydrates as a way to creating drugs to combat new, virulent forms of bacteria.

''Carbohydrates are another name for sugars,'' said Dr Naismith. "Bacteria make carbohydrate molecules that are not found in humans. We have worked out how they make two sugars in particularly - L-rhamnose and D-galactofuranose. Several enzymes (protein molecules) which we have characterised make these sugars.''

The painstaking experimental research involves determining the full three-dimensional structure of protein molecules. In essence the protein is magnified one hundred million times. This allows Dr Naismith and his colleagues to see exactly how the protein works and, more importantly, how the structure can be altered to stop it operating.

Back to welcome page

Back to news archives


Complete this month's questionnaire to qualify for extra Continuing Education credits. Click here
For the answers to last month's quiz click here.


Click here to find out who the winners are for the Pharmacy Today/Zuellig Pharma Pharmacy Awards 2002. Also view and purchase photos of the Awards.


For the leading stories in our latest issue of Pharmacy Today magazine visit our welcome page.


To subscribe to Pharmacy Today, or to purchase The Beauty Manual or The Pharmacy Healthcare Handbook click here.

Consumer Health Information

New Zealand Doctor Online