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The University of Southampton
Biological Sciences

Research project: Combating Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilm tolerance and antibiotic resistance in cystic fibrosis

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Pseudomonas aeruginosa is an opportunistic Gram-negative pathogen, known to cause chronic bronchopneumonia in individuals with cystic fibrosis (CF), the most common fatal genetic condition in the UK. These infections are difficult, if not impossible, to eradicate with conventional antibiotics due to P. aeruginosa’s ability to form biofilms, and ultimately cause respiratory failure.

This project aims to develop novel therapies for the treatment of P. aeruginosa biofilms within cystic fibrosis. Previous research has demonstrated that low dose nitric oxide (NO) can modulate levels of bacterial second messenger cyclic-di-GMP and disperse P. aeruginosa biofilms. Once dispersed, these bacteria have increased susceptibility and can be successfully targeted by conventional antibiotics. However, an appropriate and convenient way of administering NO to CF patients is lacking. Here, we seek to investigate the effects of novel NO based therapies on biofilms of P. aeruginosa isolated from CF patients. Namely, a novel pro-drug compound synthesized by our collaborators at the University of Wollongong, Australia. This compound has been designed to release NO only when in contact with a bacteria-specific enzyme, providing a more targeted approach.

Funding: Cystic Fibrosis Trust UK

Funding dates: February 2015 to February 2018

Related research groups

Biomedical Sciences
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