Fight back against MRSA to be started with a sniff novel

MRSA – gone in a sniff

Fight back against MRSA to be started with a sniff novel – Procarta technology to disable killer bacteria in a nasal spray.

An innovative, anti-bacterial spray that kills MRSA (only) is being developed by Procarta Biosystems. The spray, which can be used in the nose to decolonise patients prior to major surgery, promises to speed recovery time and reduce the number of repeat operations.

Procarta has developed a novel type of antibiotic specifically to treat MRSA and is pleased to announce a collaborative research project funded by the University of East Anglia (UEA) Medical School to adapt this for use as a nasal spray.

For many people the bacterium Staphylococcus aureus (S.aureus) naturally and harmlessly lives in the front part of their noses and is not considered a significant threat. It is when the drug-resistant strains (MRSA) colonise the nose that there is a marked chance that someone undergoing surgery will develop an infection.

MRSA infections after major surgery, such as knee or hip replacements, are particularly serious as the patient is weakened, making recovery from the infection more challenging than usual. When the infection surrounds the replaced joint the remedy can sometimes only be to repeat the operation and put in a new device, dramatically increasing costs.

Procarta has discovered how to turn off essential genes in a bacteria thus preventing the growth of the pathogen and spread of the infection.

Dr. Michael McArthur, CSO of Procarta Biosystems said, “What we can offer is a novel approach in the fight against antibiotic resistant bacteria. Targeting gene expression is a new concept and so far no bacterial strains resistant to this approach have been identified. This means that the therapy is not only effective against drug-resistant strains but, with judicious use, may also suppress the rise of future resistances.”

On Norwich Research Park, there is considerable knowledge of how to translate this type of disruptive research to bring it into the clinic: bench to bedside, and Procarta has built a strong collaborative network with fellow scientists particularly at the University of East Anglia (UEA), the Institute of Food Research (IFR) and the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital (NNUH).

Alastair Watson, Professor of Translational Medicine, UEA said: “Procarta has added an important new weapon to our armoury. This collaboration is a good example of how the public and private sector can work together, hopefully, to bring much needed new drugs to the clinic”.