A New Weapon in the Fight Against Abscesses

A New Weapon in the Fight Against Abscesses

A peptide developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia prevented drug-resistant bacteria from forming abscesses, or painful pus-filled lesions.

The peptide is a mini-protein, and works by disrupting the bacterial stress response.

There are 3.2 million emergency room visits each year in the United States due to abscesses. Standard treatment typically involves cutting to remove the infected tissue, or draining it. Antibiotics rarely work as a treatment.

This peptide offers a less invasive alternative.

“Abscesses can occur almost anywhere in the body, and antibiotics aren’t usually effective on them,” said Bob Hancock, a Professor in UBC’s department of microbiology said. “Our peptide offers a new strategy, because its mechanism is completely different from every known antibiotic.”

Hancock is also the senior author of the study published in EBioMedicine.

Hancock and UBC researchers used DJK-5, their synthetic peptide to interfere with the bacteria’s stress response and heal abscesses in mice.

Hancock said he is hoping for clinical trials to begin within a year.

His study “Bacterial Abscess Formation Is Controlled by the Stringent Stress Response and Can Be Targeted Therapeutically” appears online in EBioMedicine.


Dr. Steven Lipsky

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