Cockroaches 'may help beat superbugs'
Monday 06 September 2010
Cockroaches have long been regarded as an unwanted pest but in fact they could hold the secret to treating the most resilient of superbugs, scientists said today.
Tests have found tissue from the brains and nervous systems of the insects can kill off more than 90% of MRSA and E-coli infections without harming human cells.
Until now, cockroaches have been seen as a health hazard, to be found in dank and dingy hotels.
But Simon Lee, a postgraduate researcher at the University of Nottingham, says they hold powerful antibiotic properties after discovering nine different molecules in their tissues which are toxic to bacteria.
He said: "We hope that these molecules could eventually be developed into treatments for E-coli and MRSA infections that are increasingly resistant to current drugs.
"These new antibiotics could potentially provide alternatives to currently available drugs that may be effective but have serious and unwanted side effects."
He added: "Insects often live in unsanitary and unhygienic environments where they encounter many different types of bacteria. It is therefore logical that they have developed ways of protecting themselves against micro-organisms."
Mr Lee's research has focused on the study of specific properties of the antibacterial molecules which are now being tested on numerous superbugs.
According to the Society for General Microbiology, the pharmaceutical industry is generating fewer and fewer new antibiotics due to lack of financial incentives, resulting in a high demand for alternative sources of new drugs.
Tomorrow, Mr Lee is presenting his findings to fellow scientists at the society's autumn meeting at the University of Nottingham.
Dr Naveed Khan is supervising Mr Lee's work. He said: "Superbugs such as MRSA have developed resistance against the standard therapies and treatments that we throw at them.
"They have shown the ability to cause untreatable infections, and have become a major threat in our fight against bacterial diseases. Thus, there is a continuous need to find additional sources of novel antimicrobials to confront this menace."
Life & Style blogs
Winter crisis in A&E: Hospitals declare 'black alerts' as admissions shatter records, but full stats still unpublished
Unpaid make-up artists reveal the ugly side of Miss World
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg
Google launches 'Contributor' payment service for ad-free internet browsing
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
- 1 To help fuel their propaganda machine against the poor, our government has now decided to redefine the word 'welfare'
- 2 Tower Bridge glass walkway 'smashed' by night-time visitor dropping bottle of beer
- 3 Anti-gay hate preacher accidentally tweets 4,000 followers cartoon clip of him 'confessing' to be a 'homosexual sodomite'
- 4 Woman opens professional cuddling shop – gets 10,000 customers in first week
- 5 Grayson Perry: London needs affordable housing because 'rich people don't create culture'
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CORPORATE - Corporate Solicitor NQ+ An excelle...
Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...
£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...