A team of scientists has successfully re-engineered an important antibiotic to kill the deadliest antibiotic-resistant bacteria.
The compound could one day be used clinically to treat patients with life-threatening and highly resistant bacterial infections, researchers say.
"[These results] have true clinical significance and chart a path forward for the development of next generation antibiotics for the treatment of the most serious resistant bacterial infections," said Dale L. Boger, who is Richard and Alice Cramer Professor of Chemistry at The Scripps Research Institute and senior author of the new study.
"The result could not be predicted. It really required the preparation of the molecule and the establishment of its properties."
The compound synthesized is an analogue of the well-known commercial antibiotic vancomycin.
The new analogue was prepared in an elegant total synthesis, a momentous achievement from a synthetic chemistry point of view.
"In addition to the elegantly designed synthesis," said Jian Xie, postdoctoral fellow in Boger's group and first author on the publication, "I am exceedingly gratified that our results could have the potential to be a great service to mankind."
The study has been published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.